Reports are surfacing on social media of commercial aircraft on fire at Khartoum International Airport (KRT) in Sudan. After days of unrest in the Sudanese capital city, the latest development comes as an escalation of tensions.
Today’s outbreak follows rising tensions between the country’s paramilitary force and the army.
According to the news source The Jerusalem Post, members of the Sudanese paramilitary arm Rapid Support Forces (RSF) claim to have taken control of the presidential palace, the residence of the army chief and Khartoum International Airport, as a power struggle develops with the army.
In footage just surfacing on social media, several commercial aircraft can clearly be seen on fire in the Khartoum Airport complex.
Update 1430 UTC
Reports continue to surface of the unfolding situation at Khartoum Airport. It is understood that at least two aircraft have been damaged or destroyed, and a SAUDIA Airbus A330 and SkyUp Boeing 737 may also be affected.
Reports are unconfirmed and still to be verified at the time of writing.
Update 1450 UTC – SAUDIA statement
The Saudi Arabian carrier SAUDIA has now issued a statement confirming that its Airbus A330 operating as flight SV458 was involved in an accident prior to departure. The extent of the damage to the aircraft in question has not yet been specified.
The airline has now suspended Sudan operations following the accident.
UPDATE 1500 UTC – SkyUp statement
Ukraine airline SkyUp has now released an official statement on the situation at Khartoum Airport, saying:
“Currently, it is known about the activation of Emergency Locator Transmitter (ЕLT) on one of the two planes of SkyUp Airlines, which are located at the airport of the city of Khartoum.”
“As of now, it is impossible to determine the possible damage to the aircraft. The 36 SkyUp employees, who stay in the country, are currently in relatively safe locations. We keep in touch with them.”
“Our main task now is to organize safe conditions for employees and help them leave the country as soon as possible.”
“We work on this together with the Embassy of Ukraine in Egypt, the Honorary Consulate of Ukraine in Sudan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, and other public institutions. We will inform media when the situation is resolved.”
“SkyUp Airlines planes are in Sudan under an ACMI contract with Sun Air. Since the beginning of 2023, they have operated flights to Cairo (Egypt), Riyadh, and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia).”
UPDATE 1740 UTC
The Saudi Arabian flag carrier SAUDIA have provided a further update, confirming that cabin crew who were to fly with the damaged A330 are now confirmed as safe at the Saudi embassy.
A third aircraft destroyed in the airport attack is a United Nations Humanitarian Air Service aircraft.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.