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CamairCo Circumvents EU Flight Ban 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr

CameroonPostline.com — The rather stretching list of critics of Cameroon’s juvenile airlines company Cameroon Airlines Corporation, CamairCo have been served fresh food for thought. 

In just its first year of operations, the fledgling national carrier hatched on the rubbles of the defunct Cameroon Airlines, Camair caused many to raise eyebrows in curiosity.  It recorded several technical glitches that repeatedly obliged the grounding [and sometimes for several days] of its planes both in Cameroon and France.

In fact, since it launched operations in March 2011, CamairCo planes underwent a total eleven security controls in France.  On various occasions, as occurred on May 10 2011, its Boeing 767 was grounded in the French capital, Paris for a couple of days.

A number of Cameroonian patriots hastily surmised the “bloated” checks were the fruit of machination fanned by Air France, considered jittery over the newfangled competition introduced on “its” airspace and routes with the entry unto the scene of CamairCo.  And so proponents of that hypothesis generally concluded the adolescent carrier was off to a rough start and would hardly escape safety blacklisting.

They apparently got it all wrong.  CamairCo has at least steered clear of Europe’s darkest clouds.  The “Star of Cameroon,” which among others inherited the age-old “Dja” from Camair has sidestepped the latest European airspace blacklisting which debars 279 airlines companies from 21 countries from operating flights to that part of the world.

Meantime, officials at the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority say they deserve kudos for CamairCo’s skirting of the blacklist.  Speaking anonymously, an official told CameroonPostLine.com that the carrier’s plane are subjected to meticulous security checks which they must pass before they can be allowed takeoff. 

On the sidelines of activities marking the company’s first anniversary last month, its Dutchman General Manager Alex Van Elk meanwhile noted that CamairCo, operating a fleet of only two self-owned planes [the Boeing 767 and 757] conducted some 870 flights, transporting 10,939 passengers both within and without the country.  On most occasions, nonetheless, the company planes takeoff half-empty.

Elsewhere and included in the EU black book, published by the American civil aviation safety review last April 4 are carriers from Angola, Benin, Congo, the DRC, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia for the African continent, whose countries usually form the bulk of the indicted.  Elsewhere worldwide are countries like Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan among others.

They have until November this year to ensure compliance with safety standards, or have the ban persist. 

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