19 NOVEMBER 2012

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Article from BTNews 19 NOVEMBER 2012

Jetlink grounded

The small regional Kenyan airline Jetlink has been grounded due, it says, to a shortage of dollars in one of its main markets, South Sudan, leaving it starved of cash.

Founded in 2004, Jetlink operates out of Nairobi’s main airport, Jomo Kenyatta International, with a fleet of eight Bombardier CRJ aircraft.

South Sudan, Africa's newest nation which broke away from Sudan last year, has suffered a severe shortage of hard currency since it stopped oil exports earlier this year, due to a dispute with Sudan which controls the export pipeline.

"We have suspended our flights and the reason is that we have accumulated a lot of Southern Sudanese pounds from our ticket sales in Juba", said Elly Aluvale, Chief Executive.  He said the airline had about US$2m in local currency stuck in the South Sudan capital.

Jetlink's bankers in Kenya, who have been extending the airline credit against Sudanese pounds banked in Juba for several months, pulled the plug last week.

"This has left us in a situation where we are unable to meet our short-term obligations as they fall due", the airline said.

Fastjet, a new budget carrier for the region, is due to start operations this month. (see BTN 12 November) www.jetlink.co.ke

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