Sunday, October 28, 2012

■ GABON: Ethiopian Airlines gives Gabon Airlines 30 days to pay up or risk losing its 767.

Gabon AirlinesEthiopian Airlines' MRO has given Gabon's now defunct Gabon Airlines (GY) thirty days as of 24 October 2012, to pay up over €750'000 it owes the facility for repairs and maintenance done to its Boeing 767-200 (MSN 21877 | TR-LHP), now stored in Addis Ababa since 2010.

Gabon Airlines 767 (Blue tail) sitting in Addis Ababa (RStehmann)
Ethiopian Airlines published a statement on 24 October saying that:
"In fact, the Boeing 767-200 of Gabon Airlines, which arrived in 2010 at Addis Ababa for maintenance, and has been there ever since, causing a maintenance bill to Ethiopian Airlines which has continued to soar. It was CFA500million (€750'000) last March, when Ethiopian Airlines issued its final warning to the company. If after the ultimatum, Gabon Airlines has not paid the settlement, it will sell it in order to compensate for costs advanced."
It went on to add that, "in order to preserve good relations between Ethiopia and Gabon, Ethiopian Airlines had refrained from demanding the payment of their claims through legal channels, convinced that the dispatching of Gabon Airlines team to Addis Ababa would recover the plane . Unfortunately, nothing has been done.."said the statement indeed.

This is the second threat to sell off the Gabonese 767 that Ethiopian has issued in the last year; in March, Ethiopian gave Gabon until 28 March to settle its bill but to no avail.

Set up in 2007 as a private venture between Gabonese private investors, banks and insurers, and with Ethiopian Airlines on-board to manage its personnel and aircraft maintenance, Gabon Airlines' suffered from a very checkered and murky past, in some instances even being linked with the Corsican Mafia. After the carrier was grounded in 2010 and declared bankrupt shortly after with debts estimated to be USD91million, it lost its Gabonese Air Operators Certificate in April of this year effectively putting it out of its misery, though not in the eyes of its creditors.