Friday, January 11, 2013

►►► CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Air France suspends Bangui after riots outside French embassy.

Air France logo[UPDATE 11 JANUARY] As the situation in the Central African Republic continues to deteriorate, so French carrier, Air France (AF), had to cancel its weekly flight to Bangui on 26 December, with the next flight on 2 January 2013, under review.

Central African Republic
Central African Republic (RFI)
The move comes after Air France's confirmed Wednesday that its weekly Paris-Bangui flight had to turn back "due to the situation in Bangui". The decision was made independently by Air France, without French government interference, said an airline spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because company policy did not authorize her to speak on the record.

Josue Binoua, the Central African Republic's Minister for Territorial Administration, in an interview with Radio France International (RFI) on Wednesday called for French soldiers stationed there to intervene as rebels closed in on the capital having passed the last major town to the north.

The appeal for help came as hundreds of people protested outside the French Embassy in Bangui, the capital, throwing stones at the building and tearing down the French flag in anger at a rebel advance through the north of the country.

Colonel Djouma Narkoyo, a spokesman for the Seleka rebel alliance - which says it is fighting to enforce the application of a peace deal to end a previous rebellion - said its fighters would not, for now, enter Bangui.

We will keep you posted on any further developments.

Thanks to RwandanFlyer.

[UPDATE 29 DECEMBER] Via their offices in Libreville, Gabon, Air France issued the following statement:
"Air France informs you that its flight AF780, 26 December 2012 from Paris Charles de Gaulle and arriving at Bangui, made ​​an about turn and returned to Paris," said the press release. It goes on to state that "this flight, performed by an Airbus A330-200 (F-GZCD), left Charles de Gaulle airport at 10:59 with 130 passengers on board. At 14:30, it has changed course for a return to Paris at 17:37."

The statement also notes that "on the other hand, the cargo flight AF6780 N'Djamena - Bangui (B747-400ERF - F-GIUC) which was going from N'Djamena, Chad, yesterday (27 December), continued its rotation directly to Brazzaville, Congo (Republic of) without calling on Bangui".
Source [GabonReview]

The company serves the Central African capital with a once weekly service, with the next flight scheduled for January 2, 2012, though its go ahead "will certainly take account of developments on the ground."

[UPDATE 2 JANUARY] Air France is cancelling service to Bangui. The cancellation has been in effect since 26 December 2012 and currently scheduled service resumption is set for 30 January 2013, though this is dependent on the security situation in Bangui. Reservation for Paris CDG – Bangui service is closed on 09JAN13, 16JAN13 and 23JAN13 (Paris CDG departure).

The Skyteam member operates this route once a week. Schedule from 30JAN13 as follows.

Air France (AF): Paris CDG - Bangui
  • AF780 CDG1055 – 1730BGF 332 3
  • AF781 BGF0710 – 1400CDG 332 4
Source [AirlineRoute]

[UPDATE 11 JANUARY 2013] Air France (AF) has resumed its flights between Paris and the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui, following an improvement in the political climate with talks between rebels and government in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, resulting in a ceasefire.
In a statement, Air France said that it had resumed its normal schedule - a once weekly flight - this week. Air France also said that flight AF781, arrived in Paris from Bangui with delay of 3 hours.
According to a spokesperson quoted by Le Figaro, "Air France's Bangui bureau remained in regular contact with its customers and made ​​every effort to redirect according to its possibilities. "We have diverted most of our clients onto other Air France flights from the region (Douala, Libreville ...), or onto flights of other airlines when they operated," said the spokesman. The SkyTeam member said it was "monitoring the situation in real time."
Source [JournaldeBangui]