Monday, June 24, 2013

■ CAMEROON: Camair-Co drops Lufthansa Technik as MRO provider; to drop the 737-700 citing lack of suitability.

Camair-Co (QC), the Cameroonian national carrier, will not renew an MRO contract signed with Lufthansa Technik in 2011 after the airline cited a "unilateral increase in charges" as well as unjustifiable staff perks as its reasons. Airline CEO Matthijs Boertien claimed that spurned attempts to negotiate with the Germans had resulted in the impasse, thereby forcing Camair to look to Dutch outfit, Aviacare BV, for its future MRO needs.

Camair-Co's Boeing 737-700 in Douala
Camair-Co's Boeing 737-700 in Douala
In an interview with state-run paper, the Cameroon Tribune, Mr Boertien is quoted as saying Camair was awaiting a quote from Aviacare who currently handle the airline's 767-300 and 737-700 maintenance needs in Paris. Incidentally, Mr Boertien added that, in addition to replacing the 767-300ER as previously reported, Camair was also looking to replace the two 737-700s it has on lease from the Aviation Capital Group which he said, had not proven satisfactory on the airline's domestic and regional routes. While a potential replacement is being considered, no exact make was mentioned.

On the issue of Camair-Co's deferred delivery of three AVIC MA-60s, Mr Boertien said Camair-Co did not want to jeopardize its rights to serve Europe nor did it want to upset any chances it had of interlining with a major airline alliance by using aircraft that are "not certified" [sic] by recognized carriers "such as Air France (AF)."

Referencing his future plans for the company, Vision 2018, Mr Boertien said a Memorandum of Understanding with ECS group had been signed which would pave the way for the establishment of Camair-Co Cargo. Camair-Co Handling is also due to begin operations before year end after several investors expressed interest in investing in the initiative. On the aspect of setting up an aviation academy, negotiations with UK-based CAE Oxford Aviation Academy were reportedly ongoing. Camair-Co Technik is also due to come online in the coming months following the extension of a start-up loan from an unidentified partner.

Apropos the airline's purported privatization plans in which the government would offload a 51% shareholding to private investors, no exact decision has yet been made.

Meanwhile, Frédéric Edimo Mbotto has been appointed Deputy Director General with effect from June 14. He was previously Cameroon's representative to ASECNA, the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar.