Khartoum international airport (KRT) as well as parts of the Sudanese capital were engulfed in fierce fighting between the Sudanese army and a militia called “Rapid Support Force” (RSF) on April 15, 2023.
The clashes are related to disagreements between the government and the aforementioned armed faction over power-sharing arrangements and they quickly extended to other areas throughout the African country.
By the end of the day more than 50 people had reportedly been killed and several hundred wounded as a result of the firefight, which saw also Mig-29 fighter jets operating at low altitude over the capital city.
At the time fighting broke out, Khartoum airport was operating normally and several commercial flights and numerous passengers and crew found themselves rather unexpectedly in the middle of the battle.
At least two commercial aircraft were heavily damaged and possibly destroyed.
A Saudia A330-300 (HZ-AQ30), which was getting ready to operate flight SV458 to Riyadh King Khalid International Airport (RUH) when the fighting erupted, appears to have been heavily damaged.
Likewise, plumes of heavy smoke were also seen coming out of a SkyUp Boeing 737-800.
The Ukrainian carrier had two of its aircraft at Khartoum airport (UR-SQH and UR-SQA) at the time.
Neither the extent of the damage, which is thought to have been severe, nor the existence of possible victims is known at the moment.
Footage shows also a third aircraft, an Embraer ERJ135 operating for the United Nations, to have been destroyed on the ground as well.
Saudia published an official statement on its website acknowledging that one of its aircraft had been affected by “an accident” and that it was working with the Saudi embassy and the relevant authorities to obtain more information.
Other images showed heavily armed militiamen and soldiers roaming through the airport tarmac and its terminals while travellers were seeking shelter. Damage to the facilities seems to have been considerable as well.
All major international airlines have cancelled their flights to Sudan and a number of long-haul flights were forced to divert or change their flightpaths in order to avoid Sudanese airspace.