Cameroon: Biya approves multi-million dollar bailout for struggling national carrier Camair-Co

President Paul Biya, has approved a multi-million dollar bailout for struggling national carrier Camair-Co (QC, Douala) Minister of Transport, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo'o, told state radio this week.

The assistance will entail a XAF60 billion (USD101.4 million) injection while government will also arrange for a restructuring of XAF35 billion (USD59.17 million) worth of debt of which XAF20 billion (USD33.81 million) is owed to state-owned enterprises such as telecom operator Camtel and Aéroports du Cameroun SA (ADCSA). The remainder is owed to various suppliers.

Under a Boeing Consulting turnaround plan drawn up late last year, Camair-Co will acquire up to nine additional aircraft by 2020 for use in serving twenty-seven destinations; nine domestic, thirteen regional, and five intercontinental said to include Paris CDG, Brussels National, Guangzhou, Dubai Int'l, and Washington Dulles.

Camair-Co operates one B767-300(ER), two B737-700s, and two MA-60s on regular flights to eighteen cities in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Benin, the Ivory Coast, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, and France.

It was launched in 2011 following the closure of its predecessor, Cameroon Airlines (UY, Douala), in 2008. The latter collapsed under bankruptcy despite the government signing an agreement with SN Airholding, the parent company of Brussels Airlines (SN, Brussels National), to ensure future funding. Despite early optimism, Camair-Co has lurched from one crisis to the next with several changes in leadership having been effected over the years. At present, hamstrung with a bloated workforce, it registers monthly operating shortfalls of XAF1.5 billion (2.535 million).

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