Gabon's Etienne Robin Mintsa Mi Owono, the Deputy Director General of Gabon's Civil Aviation Department, has been named as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Air CEMAC whilst a Central African, Alfred Bouba Dalambaye, has been named Director General of the carrier.
The decision came after this weekend's meeting in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, of the Civil Aviation Ministers of the Economic and Monetary Community of African States (CEMAC) consisting of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad with São Tomé and Príncipe also in attendance.
Source [CEMAC]"Air transport is the backbone of international trade of the States of the subregion. This mode of transport significantly contributes to the economic development of our countries," said the Gabonese Minister in charge of Transport, Jean Emmanuel Didier Biye at the opening session.
Above all, member states were urged to embrace new ideas necessary in improving the state of security and air safety in the region by adopting and implementing technical regulations as per the new Code of Civil Aviation for Member States of CEMAC which would lead to the creation of an agency to oversee air safety in Central Africa.
In addition, the signing/ratification of the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Assets was also pushed as it would allow Air CEMAC to access money more easily on the international financial markets and would increase the likelihood of aircraft manufacturers offering better conditions on their products i.e aircraft.
A paper airline since its inception in 2000, Air CEMAC, in August, gave January 2013 as its target launch date. According to CEMAC legislation, its standing mandate is to provide much needed air services between neighbouring countries in a region long starved of reliable air service.
However, with the wheels of bureaucracy turning slowly - very slowly in this case - one cannot but cast doubt on whether or not this project will ever see the light of day.
Despite assenting to the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999 (relating to the Liberalisation of Access to Air Transport Markets in Africa that takes precedence over any multilateral or bilateral agreements on air services between States Parties which are incompatible with the Decision) various African countries, not only those of CEMAC, are still reluctant to opening their markets up to foreign, let alone regional competition. And with no real foundation or time line yet given for the carrier to start operations and with Cameroon's Camair-Co having ordered Boeing 787s and Equatorial Guinea's CEIBA Intercontinental having launched international routes, Air CEMAC may be destined to being just a fanciful government white paper.