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The Dja Returns Home, Despite Conflict Between Civil Aviation, Camair-Co 

By Joe Dinga PefokCamair-Co, some hidden faces are trying to ground this aircraft

Reporters in Douala, July 2, trooped to the Douala International Airport to watch the return of Camair-Co’s Boeing 767-300 (The Dja), after six months of inactivity.
The aircraft was on a routine technical control with the Ethiopian Airline hangar in Addis Abba. This was the first intensive technical control since Camair-Co took off in March 2011.

During a press briefing at the Douala International Airport, Camair-Co’s GM, Nana Sandjo, said the Engineers of Ethiopian Airlines discovered corrosion on the plane and that repairs could not immediately be effected because of the scarcity of spare parts.

“The Ethiopian Airlines and Camair-Co went into a special negotiation with the Boeing Company to manufacture the needed parts that is why The Dja had to stay in Ethiopia for so long.” The GM was happy that The Dja is back and in good condition.

The return of the biggest plane in Camair-Co’s fleet came weeks after over 320 passengers were left stranded at various airports in Cameroon following the suspension of the Cameroon Airlines Corporation, Camair-Co, flights to Europe by the General Manager of the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, CCAA, Paule Assomou.

The suspension is one of the numerous standoffs between the management of the two State-owned establishments, which appear to be fighting a war of proxy for interest groups in Yaounde.

The new twist of event erupted June 20, when the management of Camair-Co was battling to beat June 21 deadline given to the company by the International Air and Shipping Association, IASA, to submit its application file for the obtainment of annual authorisation to fly its aircrafts in Europe.

IASA is the institution that grants authorisations to all airline companies to fly in Europe.
Upon receiving the file, IASA issued an acknowledgment receipt to Camair-Co and promised that a commission will sit on July 27, to examine the file.

Meanwhile, on June 21, the GM of Camair-Co, Jean-Paul Nana Sandjo, sent copies of the IASA documents to the CCAA GM. The following day, Sandjo received a confidential correspondence from Assomou, dated June 21, announcing the suspension of Camair-Co from flying to Europe.

She alleged that the Camair-Co file she received was incomplete, though she did not mention the documents that were lacking and left the country for Senegal.

On June 24 Sandjo wrote to the Minister of Transport, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, insisting that the authorisation file was complete and that IASA, which is the competent authority has not suspended Camair-Co.

Nana Sandjo also informed the Transport Minister in the correspondence that over 320 passengers that had bought tickets from Camair-Co to either fly from Douala/Yaounde to Paris on June 24, and Paris to Douala or Yaounde on June 25, were stranded because of Assomou’s decision.


After receiving Sandjo’s letter, Mebe Ngo’o ordered Assomou to lift the ban on Camair-Co but she resisted.
The current conflict between CCAA and Camair-Co is not the first. In March last year, the then CCAA GM, Pierre Tankam, ordered the grounding of Camair-Co’s Boeing 737-300 for “non- respect of security concerns.” This left the national carrier with just one plane to operate out of its three aircraft. CCAA later released the planes without providing any evidence of wrongdoing by Camair-Co.

Same last year, CCAA grounded the Chinese made MA 60 planes on certification grounds. Camair-Co complained to Mebe Ngo’o that CCAA was reticent to complete the certification process and the Minister practically forced CCAA to complete the certification process in December.

Because of the pressure form the Minister, Tankam wrote to Biya, accusing Mebe Ngo’o of forcing him to violate international certification norms by issuing certification to the two Chinese made planes. In response, Biya fired Tankam and appointed, Paule Assomou to replace him.

The Fight For Camair-Co’s Money

The Post learnt that a mafia group made up of some highly placed personalities in Yaounde, including the Presidency is behind the war being waged by CCAA management on Camair-Co.
The mafia group has been mounting pressure on Biya to either auction Camair-Co to their partners in the Gulf, or sack the current GM or appoint their own person to replace him. Their motive is to lay hands on the financial resources of the company.

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