South Sudan is set to officially take control of its sovereign upper airspace from Sudan, following a Chinese company’s completion of the Air Traffic Management System in a major move that is set to boost the country’s non-oil revenue.

Madur Biar Yel, the Minister of Transport for South Sudan has announced that it is ready to reclaim its air space that has been under the control of Khartoum

“We are on the verge of assuming control of this facility from the contracting company, China Harbour. Just a few final connections remain, and the facility will be completed very soon,” said Mr Yel during an inspection tour of the facility as quoted by the Sudan Post.

Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, Ma Qiang, praised the collaborative efforts of the contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), and the South Sudanese government for completing the project with high standards and quality.

Ambassador Qiang stressed the significance of the project noting that the completion of this project will enable the South Sudanese government and its people to reclaim management rights over the upper airspace, ensuring integrity and sovereignty, enhancing the safety of civil aviation in South Sudan, and generating significant non-oil revenue to alleviate the government’s financial pressures.

South Sudan had in 2021 regained control of its sovereign lower airspace from Sudan. The process began in 2016 when the South Sudanese government entered into a three-year agreement with Sudan, facilitated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, to manage and oversee its airspace.

As per the terms of the agreement, South Sudan was slated to assume control of its airspace territory following training initiatives and the establishment of a qualified workforce to manage the system.

In September, the Sudanese committee responsible for managing the airspace received a directive from the cabinet to continue its responsibilities until South Sudan was prepared to take over the role.