Wednesday, December 26, 2012

► MALI: Struggling Air Mali suspends operations effective 24 December.

Air MaliCelestair Group's Malian subsidiary, Air Mali (I5), as result of the ongoing political and economic crisis in Mali, has suspended operations for nine months effective 24 December 2012.

Air Mali's sole CRJ200
Air Mali's sole CRJ200 (Air Mali)
With losses amounting to EUR79million in August, the airline withdrew its three McDonnell Douglas MD-87s from regular service and instead had to rely on the use of its sole Canadair CRJ-200 to ply flights from Bamako to Conakry (Guinea), Accra (Ghana) and Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire).

The carrier's Chief Financial Officer, Souleymane Sylla, was adamant, however, that the cessation of flights was only temporary and that it was "by no means a closure," though the resumption of services would depend on the amelioration of the political and economic situation in the country. Since January 2012, the West African nation has been in turmoil following an uprising that has since seen the partition of the country into two regions: the more conservative Islamic partition of Azawad in the north and Mali itself in the south.

On several occasions, the company has requested assistance from the state and investors, according to Sylla.
"But the state also has problems. Shareholders were not prepared, moreover, to inject resources into the company and prefer to take their time, to get a better picture on the future of the country," he said.
Source [BBC]

The airline's 66 remaining employees, survivors of a first wave of layoffs in May, will be first in line for work should business resume.