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Camair-Co’s Instability Worries MPs

Transport Minister, Robert Nkili, answered questions on the company on June 25, 2014.

Members of Parliament say the problem at the national air carrier, Cameroon Airlines Company (Camair-Co) is not transitory, but a permanent, with the company in a turbulent zone. The MPs in a plenary yesterday June 26, 2014 to adopt two bills on air transport between Cameroon and Congo Brazaville, on the one hand, and Spain on the other, questioned Transport Minister, Robert Nkili, if the underperformance of Camair-Co was the sole responsibility of the General Manager.

Honourables Evaristus Njong Ndim, Paul Nji Tumasang and Jean Michel Nintcheu, all of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, wanted to know why in three years, Camair-Co has been unable to make its mark, with four General Managers appointed in spite of measures taken by government to salvage the darling and crippling airline.

Another worry that came to the fore was the Chinese-made two aircraft that are said to have cost over FCFA 30 billion, whereas same airlines in Africa bought the same planes at relatively cheaper rates. They equally wanted to know more about the safety and performance of the MA60 planes.

“Camair-Co is in difficulty,” Robert Nkili acknowledged, but said he was “optimistic about the future of the air line. He explained that if the General Manager was replaced, it was because something did not work. “He was assigned a duty which was not met”, he said, explaining that while installing the former GM some months ago, he challenged him to monitor the last contract that has and is still plunging the country’s lone airline company into debts, a situation that resulted in its aircraft being impounded recently.  He said government’s interest is to have Camair-Co out of debts and “bizarre” contracts.

With regards to MA60, Robert Nkili said China does not manufacture planes, but assembles them. He explained that reports from experts and users speak of a state-of-the-art plane that has not recorded any breakdown so far. “The Ministry of Transport does not negotiate prices,” Nkili noted, saying that prices for MA60 were negotiated by the right ministry (Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development). “I am therefore not the right official to provide answers on this,” he said. He however assured Cameroonians that the air transport sector was moving on to better visibility.

Two Bills Adopted

Yesterday’s plenary, chaired by House Speaker, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, was to adopt two bills on air transport. The first bill adopted was that to ratify the agreement between Cameroon and the Republic of Congo on air transport, signed on December 20, 2012 in Yaounde. The bill seeks to liberalise the operation of air services and air transport safety and security between Congo and Cameroon.

The second bill adopted was that to authorise the President of the Republic to ratify the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and Cameroon on air transport. It aims at facilitating trade development between the two countries, notably the movement of goods and services. It aims at intensifying and diversifying trade, cultural and tourist cooperation.

Yesterdays plenary was attended, amongst others, by the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Jules Doret Ndongo, representing the Vice Prime Minister, Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Relations with the Assemblies, Amadou Ali and the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of External Relations in charge of Relations with the Commonwealth, Joseph Dion Ngute.

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