To revitalise Cameroon Airlines Corporation (Camair-Co), the Cameroonian State who is in fact the sole shareholder should invest no less than approximately FCfa 327 billion over a period of 5 years. This is what came out of the stimulus package just submitted to the government by the American firm Boeing.
According to the report given to the government in June by the American manufacturer, and to which Invest in Cameroon has access, a global amount of close to FCfa 223 billion should be invested in strengthening the Camair-Co fleet (purchase and rental of aircraft), to increase it from five aircraft currently, to 14 over a 5-year period.
Moreover, the coffers of the company having been empty for several months (the Ministry of Finance is taking care of the costs), the State-shareholder is invited to release a subsidy of FCfa 57 billion; to buyback Camair-Co’s debt, which has already officially of over FCfa 57 billion for some months now; and to make some investments (construction of a hangar for the maintenance of the aircraft, turning the Dja into a cargo craft, etc.) for a total amount of FCfa 10 billion.
According to the Boeing report, signed by Alexandre Ly, Regional Marketing Director Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the success of this 5-year recovery plan depends on urgent investments, for a total amount of close to FCfa 138 billion. These investments qualified as urgent (including FCfa 78.9 billion for aircraft rental), we learn, will have to be made during the first two years of implementation of the recovery plan.
Interviewed by Invest in Cameroon, an expert on transport, from whom Camair Co very often seeks counsel, finds this plan from Boeing “very ambitious”. He however regrets that the audit by this American manufacturer overshadowed the organisational and managerial pitfalls which the company is facing.
For example, he continues, the personnel-aircraft ratio at Camair Co exceeds 150 nowadays, when the international standards put this indicator at 70, or 80 at the most. “While awaiting the acquisition of new aircraft, we must have the courage to drastically downsize, taking into account the profiles of the employees”, our source specified. This not without reminding that the workforce of this public airline, which he qualifies as “a humanitarian company”, is full of “support staff”.
Moreover, he points out, Camair Co, a heavily endetted company and of which some planes have been grounded for months now, generally because of the lack of spare parts such as tyres; still pays a monthly rent of FCfa 16 million to Douala. While the former headquarters of defunct Camair (whose rehabilitation works were suspended), in the economic capital, was made available to the new company several months.
Even worse, internal sources in the company blast Camair Co’s top management, in which some managers are standing out due to detrimental conflicts of interest in the recruitment and payment of the service providers who must make available aircraft, engines and other spare parts for the planes.