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South Supreme Airlines


I once had late night drinks in Juba with a pilot from South Supreme Airlines. I promised him that the airline name was meant to one day become part of a short story title. Back in 2014 it became clearer that fewer airlines would be ready to take the risk of flying domestic in South Sudan. The list of risks is long. One thing is the lack of security of the actual airplanes which are often old and outdated. The other is the insecurity of the conflict still ongoing.

South Supreme Airlines continued. The name of the airline, like the South Sudanese beer White Bull's slogan, 'The Taste of Progress'*, is full of volumnious confidence and promise that you don't dare pointing out the evident contrasting reality.

When you land after flying on a South Supreme Airlines plane you just feel so grateful for being alive. It feels like bordering a matatu. People and cargo are let into the belly of the plane from the opening once used to release bombs. The sound of the Antonov reminds most South Sudanese of the bombings by the Kharthoum-regime in the previous war.

I flew with one of its Antonovs in 2015, very likely the same as crashed yesterday in Wau, an An-26. Reports of survivors are mixed.

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