Showing posts with label Presidential Jet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Presidential Jet. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2013

■ TUNISIA: Government rolls out Tunisair's turnaround plan; approves initial funding for A320s.

TunisairThe Tunisian national assembly has approved a bill allowing national carrier, Tunisair (TU), to secure EUR74million in funding for the acquisition of its ten Airbus A320 necessary for its renewal plan. The move is part of a raft of measures laid down by Tunis to help the struggling airline return to profitability following the events of the last three years which saw Tunisia's tourism numbers plummet.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

► SOUTH AFRICA: Government to forge ahead with plans to acquire "one or more" VVIP jets.

South African Government SealSouth Africa's  Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has announced the acquisition of one or more new VVIP aircraft during the course of the current financial year. According to the minister, the added aircraft will give the South African military its own airlift capacity.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

► CONGO (KINSHASA): See Pics of Kabila's refurbished Presidential 707 due back in Kinshasa.

Congo Kinshasa flagThe Congolese Government is set to take redelivery of its Presidential Boeing 707-138B (MSN 64 | 9Q-CLK) used by strongman Joseph Kabila for international flights. The aircraft is one of 13 unique aircraft built for Qantas (QF) in 1959 and is also a sister-ship to John Travolta's Boeing 707.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

► TUNISIA: Tunisia joins Madagascar, Malawi in offloading its unwanted Presidential Jet(s).

TunisiaTunisia is to auction off the Boeing 737-700 (MSN 29149 | TS-IOO) of deposed president Ben Ali, now on display in Dubai. A sale date of January 2013 has been announced though the overseer of the auction, Tunisair's CEO, Rabah Jrad, did not divulge the name of the aircraft's potential buyer.

Friday, December 28, 2012

■ MALAWI: Over 240 Air Malawi employees face lay offs as privatization drive begins to hurt.

Air Malawi (QM) Ltd is to send "up to 243 employees" on leave pending retrenchment and retirement as part of the government's restructuring of the company, currently being overseen by the Privatization Commission.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

►► CHAD: Presidential Jet involved in accident in Kalait; no casualties.

Chad flagReports out of Chad claim that the Chadian Presidential Jet, carrying strongman Idriss Deby, was yesterday involved in an accident whilst landing in Bir Kalait, 750 kilometres North East of the capital, Ndjamena. No casualties were reported, though the aircraft is said to have sustained damage.

Friday, August 3, 2012

■ CAMEROON: Ex-minister accused of embezzlement in "Albatross" Presidential Jet fiasco goes on trial in Yaounde.

Seal of the Cameroon Government
Former Cameroonian Interior Minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya, the politician at the centre of the Cameroonian Presidential Jet scandal, is currently on trial in Yaounde facing charges of embezzling USD$31million that should have been used to buy a new Presidential Jet sourced from the Boeing Company for President Paul Biya. 

The story goes, in 2001, Yaya, then Secretary General at the presidency, and his co-accused, amongst whom are the ex-head of the now defunct Cameroonian flag carrier Cameroon Airlines Yves Michel Fotso, Chief Ephraim Inoni, a former Prime Minister and head of government under Biya, Nkounda Julienne, and two others, were mandated by the Cameroonian Government to secure a Boeing Business Jet Second Generation (BBJ-2) for USD$31million for use by the President. It is then alleged that in early 2004 they instead colluded to hire a used Boeing 767 - The Albatross - for USD$2.6million and pocketed the remainder of the money for themselves.

But, as fate would have it, with the President and his family on board, the Boeing 767-216ER (TZ-AAC) developed technical problems on its maiden flight to Paris, France on 24 April 2004 and was forced to make an emergency landing. So irate was Biya at this embarrassing scenario that he launched a full investigation into the mishap, which culminated in Marafa's arrest along with that of the other five co-accused.

Cameroon Presidential Jet
"The Albatross" (Stephan Gimard)
Since the story broke in April 2004, there have been numerous wild allegations in the Cameroonian press that the aircraft itself was 'totally unsafe' and was in reality "a flying coffin" thereby putting the President and his family at risk each time it flew; some even claim that the purchase of the defective plane constituted an "attack on the nation of Cameroon itself".
Deeper investigation reveals that official testimony seems to dispute the claims that the President's life was in danger and that the situation was so dire as to warrant the emergency landing, though ironically, had this not happened, then perhaps Marafa and his associates could have gotten away with it all.

Presiding Judge Pascal Magnaguemabé, in his Order Instituting Separate Proceedings of January 2010 stated:
"[The "Boeing 767-200 ER" known as "Albatross"] was transported to Cameroon in a flight leaving from Atlanta in the United States on 04/22/2004 and landing in Yaounde on 04/23/2004.     

It departed again from Yaounde on 04/24/2004 for the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, with the President of the Republic and his family aboard, as well as a large delegation of important persons from Cameroon travelling to attend a summit planned for the following days in the French capital. Only, the plane had barely taken off from the Yaounde-Nsimalen airport with the illustrious person and his delegation aboard, when it experienced an incident while it was crossing the "Foumban" area.      

This incident made it necessary for the pilots to turn back to Douala. It was described as purely technical, in which "the leading edge flap was not retracting" and the plane could not reach cruising speed. While the plane was turning back to Douala, the onboard mechanic was called upon "to go down into the fuse room." While he was there, the mechanic "reset the circuit" and, after another try by the pilot, the flaps retracted and the situation returned to normal. The plane then resumed its heading toward Paris."

Then, the captain made an unwise move which turned an otherwise simple malfunction into a political debacle:
"When the problem (with the flaps) occurred, the pilots (Lieutenant Colonel Ndongue and Colonel Babodo Lewono) should have called for the mechanic seated at the end of the aircraft. All they needed to do to rectify the problem was to refer to the flight manual and to call for the mechanic. Instead, flight captain Betham chose to inform the President of the Republic that there was a problem with the aircraft and that it had to return to Douala for a checkup. He reassured the Head of State that this would not take long. In my opinion, the captain demonstrated a lack sang-froid by rushing to alert the President. He should have tried to solve the problem first."

Subsequently, the Cameroonian Government returned the aircraft to Boeing who disputed their claims that the aircraft was in terrible shape. Eventual litigation led to the Cameroon Government being forced to pay Boeing USD$2.6million for breach of contract.

But, at the end of the day, the case is not about the overall airworthiness of the Boeing 767, its about 5 high ranking government officials who were tasked with the responsibility of buying a brand new BBJ but instead hired a second hand 767 and whose actions, by a strange twist of fate (had the Captain kept a cool head and treated the flap malfunction as routine instead of informing the President then this whole incident may never have come to light), were exposed for what they are - fraudulent.

At the beginning of May, a former Cameroonian ambassador to the United States, Jerome Mendouga, was jailed for 10 years in connection with the case.

For more on the case:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

● MALAWI: Joyce Banda: I can do without a Presidential Jet.

In stark contrast to her Swazi counterpart, King Mswati III who this week welcomed a "gift" McDonnell Douglas MD-87 despite his country's grinding poverty, new Malawian President, Joyce Banda, has put the issue of keeping her country's presidential jet - a Dassault Falcon 900- to her cabinet for debate.


Bought amid great criticism from locals and donors, the Dassault Falcon 900 was thought to have cost the Malawian taxpayer USD$13.26 million. Ultimately, the purchase caused the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) to slash aid funds to the country.