Reasons For Camair-Co’s Malaise: Three Pilots Were Suspended
Limited finances, pilot suspension and technical hitches are blamed for the company’s current demise.
Cameroon’s lone airliner company, Camair-Co, is again sailing in troubled waters. For two weeks now, the company’s aircraft have been grounded, with flights cancelled, sending stranded passengers into fury. The resurgence of turbelence in the company has been blamed on a plethora of insufficiences.
Sources close to the crisis say Camair-Co does not have enough finances to run its operations. It has been forced to cash in for fuel before each plane takes off. “This is not normal for good operations,” Cameroon Tribune was told by a civil aviation expert.
Three Pilots Suspended
The last stroke that broke the camel’s back was the suspension by the Civil Aviation Authority of three Camair-Co pilots. One of the pilots is reported to have flown with licences that were expired, while the two others violated a notification that aircraft were not allowed to land at the Douala International Airport due to rehabilitation work. Camair-Co is said to lack pilots. The suspension of three pilots is “enough for the company to lose.” A discliplinary council is reported to have resolved to reintate the pilots who are presently out of duty station for refresher courses as stipulated by aviation regulations.
Camair-Co’s fleet consists of two Boeing 737-700 and one 767-300 ER. The 767-300 ER (the Dja) however has a malaise as its landing gear is faulty. The company is seeking better ways of replacing it. “The company is taking quick measures to replace the aircraft that will be going in for maintenance,” Cameroon Tribune was told.
Where Are The Two MA 60s?
The registration of the two Chinese-assembled aircraft by the Civil Aviation Authority has been transformed to certification. These are two different things. The first refers to ensuring the flight-worthiness of an aircraft and the second is linked to a more complex process whereby the manufacturer is expected to furnish the airline with more documents that can enable the two aircraft to operate as per international civil aviation standards. The procedure for the registration was already started and the Civil Aviation Authority is still expecting Camair-Co to submit the required documents that are needed to have the aircraft certified.
And The FCFA 25 Billion!
The management of Camair-Co saw in the FCFA 25 billion loan from the State of Cameroon a panacea to the company’s crisis. Far from that. The loan, sources say, has not been disbursed. Instructions have been given for the effective audit of the company’s flight operations and its destination reliability before the loan is disbursed. A convincing business plan is also required of the company. Government is preparing to launch tenders for the recruitment of a consultant to audit the company’s operations.
Webnjoh Abel Bobuin Bisiya, Head of Division, Civil Aviation Department, Ministry of Transport.: «Camair-Co Pilots Were Suspended»
Camair-Co’s aircraft have been grounded for weeks now with flights cancelled, sending stranded passengers into fury. What are the reasons for this malaise?
Information from the field says the 767-300 ER (the Dja) has a fault with its landing gear. The aircraft went through brunscopic visualisation whereby it was revealed that some small parts in the engine were suffering from cracks that must be replaced before the aircraft can resume activity. The company is seeking better ways of replacing it. “The company is taking quick measures to replace the aircraft that will be going in for maintenance. Also, the Civil Aviation Authority suspended some three pilots of the company for the non-respect of regulations in force. This was during a disciplinary council. One of the pilots is reported to have flown with licences that were expired, while the two others violated a notification that aircraft were not allowed to land at the Douala International Airport due to rehabilitation work. The suspension of three pilots is enough for the company to lose. Two months from the pronouncement of sanctions, the pilots are not allowed to fly without undergoing refresher courses as per aviation regulations. They were therefore sent back to a training school for revision. However, information reaching us says the pilots should be back by this week for full activity to begin by next week. We have received assurance from management that measures are underway for nomalcy to reign as soon as possible.
Camair-Co announced the acquisition of new aircraft to beefed its three existing fleet when it signed a FCFA 25 billion loan agreement with banks with government as guarantor. How far have they gone with this project?
This loan was agreed and finalised during the ceremony. However, government later instructed that the company be audited by a competent consultant who at the end will propose a project to relaunch operations, before the funds can be disbursed. The consultant is also called upon to accompany Camair-Co in the drawing up of a convincing business plan. It is pending that the audit be done. Government will launch a tender in the nearest future to this effect.
One of the criteria for Camair-Co to obtain the loan was to come up with a business plan which Camair-Co did. Why are we talking of another business plan?
It might just be a suggestion. Government might not have confidence in the business plan that Camair-Co brought forward. It is not always good to take sides with something from one angle. Government wants to have a second party which will come out with the audit and propose a second business plan. This will permit goverment to have the possibility of choosing between the two. I want to believe that it is on this spectre that government is requesting for audits and a new business plan.
Why are the two MA 60 aircraft handed to Camair-Co in April 2015 still not in activity?
The introduction of new aircraft into an airline is technically based on its partial certification. They have to review the documents of the company, make sure that they are airworthy and that they have registration numbers. This is a process which takes some time. It is an interactive process where Camair-Co has to apply for a registration number, forward documents for the Civil Aviation Authority to examine to be sure that they comply with the regulations. If the evaluation is accepted, the aircraft will be inspected and the individual air worthiness certificate and the matriculation numbers are issued to them. Another area is to document into the company so as to be sure that all is in place for operations to take of. Are pilots as well as technicians trained enough? Is there an organisation to maintain the aircraft? Are saftety measures in place…. This is the process in which Camair-Co, the Civil Aviation Authority and partially the manufacturer (AVIC) are into now.
Why is it taking this long?
It is an interactive excercise. It depends on how fast each partner responds. We have been made to understand that Camair-Co is expecting some documents from the manufacturer to beef up its file at the Civil Aviation Authority for the two MA 60 aircraft to be certified.