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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 17:06 GMT
Hopes rise for new Air Afrique
Ivorian and Congolese leaders attend talks on the crippled airline in Abidjan
Air Afrique now operates just one aircraft
By BBC West Africa correspondent Mark Doyle

The African countries that own the bankrupt airline Air Afrique have recommended at a meeting in Ivory Coast that it should be liquidated in the hope that a new, viable company can be created.

While many airlines have suffered falls in passenger revenue since the 11 September attacks in the United States, African leaders and company employees blame mismanagement for Air Afrique's chronic problems.

Air Afrique was created on the very sensible premise that many small African countries can't afford their own national airline.

But management issues - often linked to the problem of being owned by 11 states - have crippled the airline.

Past glories

From being one of Africa's main carriers, Air Afrique is now down to operating just one plane.

The countries meeting in Abidjan said they hoped a new company - to be named New Air Afrique - would rise from the ashes with a share capital worth the equivalent of about $50m.

The challenge will be finding this investment money.

African governments have agreed to reduce their percentage holding in the new company, partly because they don't have the cash.

French involvement

The French carrier Air France, has offered to buy a big stake. But according to Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, Air France has insisted that the new company has a monopoly on certain routes.

The African governments have said they don't accept this condition, but there are other problems to resolve before the new Air Afrique can emerge.

These include: who can pay off the debts of the old Air Afrique and what happens to the staff of the soon-to-be-liquidated company.

See also:

15 Oct 01 | Business
Air Afrique loses half its fleet
15 Aug 01 | Business
Air Afrique wound up
26 Nov 01 | Africa
A striking end for Air Afrique
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