This information could be useful to people like us who are crossing Africa overland and get stuck in Ndjamena because the border with Sudan is closed.
There are two airline companies that can get you out of Ndjamena.
- Sudan Airlines with 1 or 2 weekly flights to Khartoum (Saturday for sure + maybe Wednesday). These flights are using an Airbus 340 which is large enough to load your bike(s) as cargo.
- Ethiopian Airlines with 2 weekly flights to Addis Ababa, on Tuesday and Friday. The problem is that they have a plane big enough to load a bike only twice a month in average and always on a Tuesday. Besides, they never can tell for sure if they'll have a big plane the next Tuesday. You might have better luck trying to ship from Douala, Cameroon to Addis (one big plane a week on Monday).
Whatever solution you choose, the price and formalities will be approximately the same:
- Go to Air Afrique Cargo at the airport to weigh the bike and order a crate. They'll charge you around $100 for a crate and $100 for the paperwork.
- Go to the airline, get your tickets (around $530 each) and negociate a price for your bike (we got it at $2.50/kilo).
- The day before you flight, go back to Air Afrique Cargo to charge your bike in the crate. While they work on it, go with a guide to fill out the paperwork (it will cost you an extra $30 in gifts). When all is done, pay Air Afrique for the shipping.
Everything must be paid cash in CFA, Euro or US$, although Ethiopian Airlines should accept Visa payment for the passenger tickets.
We don't know about landing in Addis Ababa but the word was that it should be straightforward (it certainly was for entering by land).
We experienced however the custom clearance process in Khartoum, Sudan. It was the first time apparently they had seen a couple of bikes arriving by air so...
- The customs treated us as if we wanted to actually import the bikes in Sudan and sell them there (regardless of our Carnets de Passage).
- The customs clearance agent did everything to squeeze as much money out of us, by keeping the paperwork in ransom and asking us always higher amounts of money.
We ended up getting our bikes and paperwork thanks to a second customs clearance agent.
If you land in Khartoum, avoid absolutely Cannata International Company. Watch out because they have many recuiters at the airport. If you want to read more about our problems, go to http://www.photobiker.com/people/cannata.html
Instead, we recommend you to deal with the following company. They said it should have cost us $250 maximum to get the bikes back. Maybe you can work it out at $200. Their contact information is:
Manager: Mortada M. Idris
Phone: +249-11-568929 (or 568929 when in Khartoum)
Total to fly to Sudan (it should be about the same for Ethiopia, minus customs clearance):
200 Air Afrique
530 Sudan Airlines passenger ticket
750 Sudan Airlines cargo fare (for a 300kg bike)
250 MTS Customs Clearance in Khartoum
Oh, and don't worry if after boarding the plane from Ndjamena to Khartoum, you first land in Niamey...
Merritt & Pierre