Cameroon’s national airline Camair-Co has suspended flights to Paris

 

The airline has been grappling with financial and managerial crisis since it launched operations in March 2011.

Reports say the firm's most profitable route is Douala-Paris, the flag-carrier’s lone intercontinental route.

An extra-ordinary board meeting in Douala on Friday, agreed that the Paris route be suspended for the company to concentrate on its domestic routes.

Board Chairman Mefire Oumarou said Camair-Co would focus on expansion of domestic destinations.

Safety challenges

He said the new routes to the northwestern and western cities of Bamenda and Bafoussam would be launched soon.

Camair-Co is the successor to Cameroon Airlines, the central African country’s pioneer flag-carrier, which was dogged by losses and safety challenges.

Five years later, observers say there were no indication that Camair’s successor would be profitable.

Camair-Co operated three planes untill the end of last year; the aged Boeing 767-300ER named The Dja, which it inherited from Camair, and two 737-700s leased from US-based Aviation Capital Group.

Serious handicap

The firm later acquired two small Chinese-built MA 60 planes, which were commissioned in January, raising the company’s fleet to five.

So far, the fleet has been cited as a serious handicap for the company, occasioning endemic flight cancellation, making the airline less competitive.

In one embarrassing incident in September last year, angry customers stormed Camair-Co’s office in Yaoundé and threatened to torch it over frequent flights cancellations.

Management hurdles

Only recently, the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) banned Camair-co from flying to the Europe for what it termed non-compliance with safety standards.

The airline management and the Cameroon Transport Ministry, however, insisted that the ban was due to some administrative and management hurdles. The regulatory body later lifted the ban.

An independent assessment by US firm Boeing Consulting revealed that Camair-Co posted $59 million loss between 2012 and 2014.

 

The US consortium proposed a new business strategy, that government bailout Camair-co and also inject $101 million into the corporation.

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