Regional top carriers, Kenya Airways and Qatar Airways suspended ticketing authorities in Sudan following violent protests that have rocked the country since December.
The airlines cite difficulties in repatriating foreign currency and other trade-related challenges.
Ticketing Authority (TA) is the airline’s authorisation to the International Air Travel Association (IATA) accredited agent to issue tickets on its behalf.
“In light of the increasing foreign currency repatriation difficulties experienced, we regret to inform our trade partners that Kenya Airways is obliged to temporarily suspend distribution of Ticketing Authority in the Sudan market,” a January 28 notice issued to the Sudan office by Kenya Airways reads in part.
“As a result, Kenya Airways will suspend ticketing authority with immediate effect in Sudan. Kenya Airways is working to find a solution for this issue. We will communicate once a favourable solution is achieved,” the notice adds.
Similarly, Qatar Airways also issued a trade advisory notice to the partners in Sudan.
“Due to commercial reasons, we regret to inform our trade partners that Qatar Airways will temporarily withdraw ticketing authority in Sudan market with immediate effect till further notice.”
The suspension of ticketing authorities by the two airlines is a big setback to the country that is already grappling with a worsening economic situation.
The protests started on December 13 after the prices of bread shot up. At least 29 people have been killed, according the official government figures, while humanitarian agencies put the numbers higher.
The protests started in Ad-Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile State, spreading to Port Sudan, the capital of Red Sea State, and then Atbara where the National Congress Party headquarters was burned down. The protests then spread to other cities.