Two major airline carriers Kenya Airways and Qatar Airways have suspended ticketing authorities in Sudan amid ongoing violent protests in the country over high prices, Chimp Corps report.
Ticketing Authority (TA) is the airline’s authorisation to the International Air Travel Association (IATA) accredited agent to issue tickets on its behalf.
And Kenya Airways, in a notice to Sudan, said: “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.
Qatar Airways also said: “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, including the capital Khartoum, Omdurman and Khartoum North as well as El-Obeid the capital of the state of North Kordofan.
Government has since moved in to purge media, the latest being a move yesterday by the state intelligence agency, NISS, to confiscate editions of the popular daily, Al-Watan newspaper.
President Omar Al-Bashir accused the media of blowing the crisis out of proportion. “We do not claim there is no problem, but it is not of the size or dimensions that some of the media portray.”
“This is an attempt to copy the Arab Spring in Sudan, these are the same slogans and appeals and the very wide use of social media sites,” he said.
Earlier on, the government expelled a number of foreign journalists covering the development and issued a “wanted list” for more than 30 others.