Saudi Arabian flag-carrier Saudia and Ukrainian operator SkyUp Airlines have confirmed that aircraft in their fleets have been caught up in hostilities at Sudan’s Khartoum airport.
Saudia states that one of its Airbus A330s has suffered an “accident” prior to take-off from Khartoum on 15 April.
The aircraft was “shot at”, it states, while operating the SV458 return flight to Riyadh at about 09:30.
It says passengers and crew were on board. The crew has been transported to an embassy in Sudan.
Saudia has suspended all flights to Sudan, and its emergency co-ordination centre is obtaining information on the situation from official channels.
The aircraft involved is likely to be an A330-300 (HZ-AQ30). Unverified images on social media appear to show the twinjet with its empennage separated and evacuation slides deployed.
Ukrainian operator SkyUp says one of its two aircraft parked at Khartoum activated its emergency locator transmitter.
“It is impossible to determine the possible damage to the aircraft,” the carrier says. SkyUp uses a fleet of Boeing 737-700s and -800s, but it has not identified the type involved.
The aircraft are in Khartoum because they have been wet-leased to Sun Air Aviation – which is based in the Sudanese capital – operating to destinations including Cairo, Riyadh and Jeddah.
SkyUp says it has 36 personnel in Sudan, and is in contact with them, adding that they are in “relatively safe locations”.
“Our main task now is to organise safe conditions for our employees and help them leave the country as soon as possible,” states the airline.
SkyUp’s operations have already been disrupted by the conflict in Ukraine, and the carrier only recently retrieved the last of its aircraft still in the country – a 737-800 (UR-SQP) which was flown out of Kyiv Borispol to Iasi in Romania on 4 April.