Cameroon Airline Sends 250 Workers On Technical Leave Over COVID-19

Cameroon’s national airline, Camair-Co on June 22 sent 250 of its staff on technical leave for three months. 

The company had since April 1, 2020, suspended most of its operations because of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which financially impacted the operations of the company.

“This measure takes effect from Monday, June 22 for a period of three months renewable if things don’t improve”, a spokesperson at the General Directorate of the airline revealed.

According to the same source, who elected for anonymity because she is not authorized to speak on behalf of the company, “the decision to send some staff on technical leave has as a principal objective.

“The limitation in the continuous hike in salary arrears, to reduce the risk in personnel contagion and to master running charges during the period of the present phase in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Camair-Co is currently buried in a permanent crisis of chronic indebtedness and since May 7, the company has only been able to undertake five domestic flights daily. 

Only two of its six aircrafts have been operational.

It should be recalled that the pandemic has only come to cushion the excuses of management that have been chaotic.

Camair-Co was created in 2011 to take over from the former national carrier, Cameroon Airlines which was bankrupted by crippling debts.

This was occasioned principally by the government’s inability to pay for tickets for flights by state employees who most times abused their privileges by taking along non-government female individuals on love trips.

During its first nine months of operations from March 21 to December 31, 2011, the company registered losses of 42 million dollars thanks to a rather unconventional pattern of management and purchasing culture which disrespects conventional norms and which continues to date.

It has been the general opinion within the national community that since cutting its umbilical cord from their French partners, Air France, the French have been doing everything to sabotage the operations of Camair-Co.

“Camair-Co’s most profitable route is Douala-Paris-Douala. Unfortunately, however, it is on this route that most of the company’s imperfections are registered. 

“Some time ago, a Camair-Co flight that was set to take off from Paris to Douala was ordered not to take off for reasons that were not elucidated. 

“Passengers on the flight were forced to disembark and lodged in hotels by Camair-Co until the following day when the flight finally took off for Douala. 

“Tell me how the company can make money when it is faced with such glaring sabotage by the French authorities”, a regular passenger who says he flies by Camair-Co for patriotic reasons told HumAngle in Douala yesterday.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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