Both Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) and Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) have threatened to suspend their respective flights to Juba, as both carriers claim that their staff have been "inconvenienced" at the South Sudan airport.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, South Sudan's Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the issues came about after passengers from both airlines allegedly complained of delayed or missing luggage at Juba Airport.

“The Minister of Transport, John Luk Jok, informed us that he has received complaints from Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways, threatening to withdraw or stop their flights to South Sudan. This is because of the inconveniences that are usually caused to the staff of the two airlines,” Makuei said.

“As you know very well, when you board a plane and your luggage is loaded, it may remain behind and when it remains behind, it is the duty of the airline to find it out and bring it to you. In case it is proved to be lost, they compensate you for that, but for us here in South Sudan if I arrive and my bag in not there, I immediately take action against the poor guy who is a station master here,” he added.

South Sudanese government spokesman Makuei admitted that harassment of airline staff at the airport often occurs, warning those passengers doing so to stop it and follow the correct baggage procedures instead.

“Anyone found to be doing that [harassing staff] will definitely be made answerable to it... luggage getting lost is something that happens all over the world and South Sudan is not an exception,” he stressed.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, Ethiopian flies 19x weekly (including a 5x weekly service via Entebbe/Kampala) to Juba from its base at Addis Ababa with its Dash 8-400 fleet. Kenya Airways offers a daily flight to the South Sudanese city from its Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta home, operated by its E190 aircraft.

The airlines were contacted for comment by ch-aviation on these matters, but both declined to make any further statements.