Tuesday, January 1, 2013

► CHAD: The case of Toumaï Air Tchad and the dodgy Boeing 737-300.

Toumai Air TchadA confiscated Georgian-owned Boeing 737-300 (4L-IMA) could soon join the fleet of grounded Chadian national carrier, Toumaï Air Tchad (9D). However, the acquisition is shrouded in controversy as the Chadian private press allege that the aircraft is to be diverted to Sky Air Corp, a local company owned and run by Zakaria Déby, the son of Chadian strongman, Idris Déby, who incidentally, is also the boss of Toumaï Air Tchad.

Toumaï Air Tchad's old network
Toumaï Air Tchad's old network (TAT)
According to La Lettre du Continent, Zakaria Déby, who is also the Deputy Director of Cabinet, has offered the Boeing 737-300 acquired from Jordan on behalf of his company, Sky Air Corp, for possible use by Toumaï Air Chad. The aircraft's origins and condition are unknown save that "it was confiscated on March 6, 2012 by its original owner, an unknown Lebanese company, on account of failure to settle debts."

Speculation in the Chadian private press is now rife that Mr. Deby is trying to profit from the airline's poor state of affairs, by "putting pressure on the Chad Minister of Transport Hassan Touka in addition to the head of the Chadian civil aviation authority, l'Autorité De l'Aviation Civile Tchadienne (ADAC), Mahamat Saleh Douga into accepting the Boeing 737-300 on lease from Sky Air Corp." 

In July, Toumaï Air Tchad (9D), along with two other unspecified airlines, were grounded indefinitely by Chadian authorities in Ndjamena following a damning safety audit of the airlines by IATA, which uncovered serious safety shortcomings. During this time, Zakaria Deby was CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors (PCA) of the national airline during this time leading to numerous allegations of deliberate mismanagement and corruption.

Thanks to Bigogwe Masaka.