Not been a terrific year for African airlines with the loss this year of Velvet Sky, Air Nigeria, 1time and on the 16th of this month the grounding of Jetlink Express of Kenya.
Jetlink started operations in 2004. It employed 350 staff and operates a fleet of eight Bombardier CRJs. Jetlink, which has operated for over four years, operated scheduled Kenyan domestic flights to Kisumu, Mombasa, and Eldoret and regionally to Juba (South Sudan) and Mwanza in Tanzania.
Its closure is a little unusual. In a statement, Jetlink said it had over two million US dollars in revenues “stuck” in South Sudan, The money is denominated mostly in Sudanese pounds and the airline could not get this money out because of a severe shortage of foreign currency in South Sudan. The airline’s credit lines had been based on these revenues until its bankers lost patience. this month. The airline had approached the governments of Kenya and South Sudan to find a solution to the problem. The Kenyan government has been considering a lifeline. In the meantime, the airline’s planes are not going anywhere. They are the 25th airline to close this year (although Air Zimbabwe seem not to have gone yet!)