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Hunt For New Camair-Co GM Underway 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr

CameroonPostline.com — Overt plotting, tacit mudslinging and multiform maneuvering are expected to progressively gather verve as the government begins searching for a new manager for its national flag carrier, Cameroon Airlines Corporation, Camair Co.

According to a release issued earlier this week, Cameroonian nationals as well as foreigners considering themselves amply apt to superintend the juvenile state-owned airline company have until 5:00 pm on July 25 to tender their applications for the top job.  The communiqué, bearing the signature of PM Philemon Yang who doubles as Camair Co board chair follows the expiration last June of Alex van Elk’s contract.

The outgoing Dutchman has piloted the company since February 2010 and it remains uncertain if he can still vie for continuity.  Observers have however been quick to note that the government would not have engaged the search for his heir if it wanted him to preserve the job.

Bidders, according to the release rendered public on July 9, must be holders of a university degree in management or finance.  Those with airlines management know-how including aircraft leasing procedures and financing of airlines operations have an add-on advantage.  They must also show proof of managerial experience as well as an ambitious vision for Camair Co, hatched in 2006 on the debris of the defunct Cameroon Airlines, Camair.

The lucky applicant will be handed a three-year potentially renewable contract tasking him/her with scaling down expenses and losses while at the same time ensuring steady profit-making within the scope of international security and safety regulations. 

The ongoing search for a new Camair Co general manager comes on the back of a July 3 announcement of the acquisition by the government of three MA60 turboprop planes manufactured by AVIC International Holding Corp, a Chinese civil aviation import and export company.  The government is paying 61 billion FCFA [about US$116.3 million] for the two of the planes.  The third is a gift.  They are due delivery in September and will be used to enlarge Camair Co’s fleet size.

The national carrier currently counts three planes including one Boeing 767 inherited from the deceased Camair and two Boeing 737-700s.  In recent months, the company’s managers have been blitzed by the local media over alleged managerial slips.  Camair Co which clocked its first year of existence last March, has been barraged for failing to live up to promises to operate sub-regional flights, flight schedule delays, the selection of uneconomical destinations, financial deficits dangling around 20 billion FCFA, recruitment discrimination, etc.

Addressing MPs at the National Assembly in late June, PM Yang watered down the accusations of managerial slips by the van Elk team at Camair Co.  According to him, the company was still in its embryonic stages and first results could not be expected until 2014.  Critics rushed to conclude the PM was openly defending van Elk.  The ongoing search for a new GM has thus served many cynics food for thought. 

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