The airport’s VIP terminal would be off-limits to passengers during Pope Francis two day visit to Juba.
A directive to halt some domestic and cargo operations at Juba International Airport from February 2–5 2023, has been issued by the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority.
The two-day visit of Pope Francis, according to Saleh Akot Anywan, General Manager of Juba International Airport, is the reason for the flight cancellations. Akot added that during the pope’s visit, the airport’s VIP terminal would be off-limits to passengers. He stated that the flights would kickstart once more on February 6, 2023.
Kur Kuol, the director-general of Juba Airport, made it clear when asked for comment that the airport will not be shut down. They will just make a few preparations for the Pope’s arrival, according to Kuol.
“Although I know the Pope is coming, not all flights need to be canceled. It is for large airplanes because I have yet to determine how many planes will arrive on that date, so there won’t be any issues. Although we won’t close the airport, we will make some preparations”.
Pope Francis will arrive in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on January 31, where he will stay for two days, according to the Vatican. Along with the Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
On February 3, he will go by plane to Juba, where he is scheduled to hold prayers and meet with the government, religious leaders, and internally displaced people.
Due to health issues, the Pope’s much-anticipated visit was postponed in July of last year.
A pope has never before traveled to South Sudan, while the DRC, which has the greatest Catholic population in Africa, has only twice been visited by a pope.