Monday, September 23, 2013

■ CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Air CEMAC launch now delayed 'til early 2014 as more talks with Air France are due in October.

Air CEMACIn yet another unsurprising development regarding the formation and launch of Central Africa's bloc-based initiative, Air CEMAC, the airline's launch has now been pushed back until January 2014 pending the finalization of protracted talks with strategic partner, Air France (AF).

CEMAC states (worldbank)
Brazzaville-based newswires report that a second round of talks with the French is now scheduled for October after Congolese Minister for Civil Aviation & Transport, Rodolphe Adada, went to Paris in late July to attempt to finalize the "contentious" modalities of the deal in time for a late 2013 launch.

Negotiations with Air France have proven to be "challenging" with new claims stating that Air France would now get 40% of the shares (up from 33%) while the six Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale - CEMAC) states - namely the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon and Chad - would get 5% each. The remaining 30% would be spilt between  the Bank of Central African States (Banque des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale) and private investors.

How the talks pan out into an eventual agreement and the actual rolling out of the airline's long delayed launch will also have an impact on a reported tie up between Air France and the government of Congo Kinshasa, which has stated that a new national carrier in which Air France is also reported to be a partner, is set to launch in early 2014.

Air CEMAC's original plans called for the creation of a strong, regional network aimed at making travel between the six member states easier while also facilitating better regional and international connectivity. Regional flights linking the organization's various capitals with other regional destinations are to include: Kinshasa, Nairobi, Kigali, Harare, Lagos, Cotonou, Lomé, Johannesburg, Abidjan, Bamako, Dakar, Addis Ababa and Dubai. European destinations are listed as Paris, Brussels, London, Madrid, Rome and Frankfurt.