Sudan Airways, one of the oldest airlines in Africa, will receive two Airbus jets funded by the government of China as part of a financial deal signed with the Asian nation to provide 14 commercial aircraft to the national carrier’s fleet.
The government did not however provide details of the financial institution that will fund the new fleet for its national carrier.
President Omar al-Bashir signed the deal with his Chinese counterpart during an official visit to Beijing on September 7th, Sudan Tribune reported.
Transport Minister, Makkawi Mohammed said that the delivery of the new fleet earlier in the year delayed due to procedural issues, and the two governments are finalizing several financial measures before Sudan receives the two Airbus.
Sudan Airways is one of the continent’s oldest airlines, with a fleet of less than 10 aircraft, which were mostly bought second-hand.
Efforts by the airline to acquire new spare parts for its fleet and new aircraft have for years been hampered by U.S. trade embargo imposed in 1997 after accusing the African nation of hosting militant Islamists.
Leading firms like Airbus and Boeing have refused to deal with the nation, leading to efforts by Sudan to buy new fleet from Ukraine, three years ago.
Dutch carrier, KLM also stopped flying into the country in 2013 due to the sanctions.
The deal to acquire new fleet from China comes three years after the Asian economic power, agreed to a $700 million loan agreement to help Sudan build a new airport, New Khartoum International Airport.
The five-year loan deal is financed by China’s Export Import Bank.
The two nations signed the last phase of the deal in June, The Sudanese Media Centre reported.
The move is meant to boost the national carrier’s aging fleet, which has mostly been bought second hand, is the latest deal in the increasing trade between the two nations.
In May, the two governments signed a deal for the construction of the first-ever nuclear power plant in the African nation.
China National Nuclear Corp. will build the atomic reactor as Sudan seeks to start commercial production of nuclear power by 2027, Bloomberg reported.