Wednesday, March 6, 2013

► CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Launch of Air CEMAC delayed once more; this time until late 2013.

Air CEMACAs prognosticated by The African Aviation Tribune in November 2012, Air CEMAC, the planned regional carrier to link Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and São Tomé & Príncipe, has indeed been forced to delay its intended January 2013 launch date, this time, to November/December 2013.

Air Cemac
An artist's rendering of an Air CEMAC
A330 (PatrickAviation)
While no specific reason for the delay has been given, the recent insurrection in the Central African Republic coupled with the ongoing Malian crisis are likely to have forced regional body Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC) to put the project on the back burner for the meantime.

"The first planes for Air CEMAC will be ready to fly in either November or December 2013," said the Chairman of the CEMAC Committee, Congo's Pierre Moussa, who also reported that officials from Air CEMAC and its partner, Air France, are currently finalizing technical and administrative arrangements needed for the carrier to operate in the region.
Source [Malabo News]

Further updates on Air CEMAC are expected after a meeting of Heads of State in the Central African Republic's capital, Bangui, due to be held in late April/ early May.

The latest delay is one in a long line of deferments and dallying on CEMAC's behalf. The original plan was for Air CEMAC to have been airborne and operational by 2000, but since then, a lack of both financial backing and political will has condemned the airline to existing in theory, not practice.

Original plans called for regional flights linking the organization's various capitals with other regional destinations to have included: Kinshasa, Nairobi, Kigali, Harare, Lagos, Cotonou, Lomé, Johannesburg, Abidjan, Bamako, Dakar and Addis Ababa and Dubai. European destinations were to have included Paris, Brussels, London, Madrid, Rome and Frankfurt.

The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (or CEMAC) is an organization of Central African states constituting Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon with the aim of promoting economic integration among countries that share a common currency, the CFA franc (XOF/XAF).