Air Gabon to be majority owned by US corporation?
- Libreville, Gabon,09/26 - The Union of Air Gabon Workers (SYPAG) has
sent a letter to President Omar Bongo Ondimba to ask him to choose
the US firm, International Trading Service Centre (ITSC), as
a "strategic partner" in the privatisation of the troubled Air Gabon.
According to SYPAG secretary-general, Pierre Boukila Boundzanga, the
ITSC has proposed to lease for Air Gabon three aircraft (Boeing 777-
200, 737-300 and 747-400) at the rate of 380 million CFA francs per
month should the US firm get the right to run the airline. The
company will also pay a two billion CFA franc deposit as a guarantee
for the planes, he added.
In an open letter copied to PANA, the SYPAG stressed that under the
previous management, Air Atlanta Company had been renting to Air
Gabon a Boeing 767-300 at a premium price of 220 million CFA francs
for several months. In addition, the letter added, the ITSC is said
to be interested in the opening of Air Gabon`s capital and ready to
take 51 per cent shares of the company`s capital as planned in the
Gabonese government`s "business plan."
If ITSC`s proposal is accepted, the company may add a new Boeing to
the company`s fleet, which would make it four the number of aircraft
proposed by the US Company. Also, the ITSC would like to participate
in the building of a new terminal in Libreville, the extension of
Mvengue terminal in Franceville (south- east) as an alternative
airport and set up an air logistics centre in Gabon, the SYPAG added.
The Gabonese government, which remains the only shareholder of Air
Gabon, whose the debt is estimated at 60 million CFA francs, after
the withdrawal of Air France, has decided to find a strategic partner
for the company`s survival.
Talks are under way with Royal Air Maroc (RAM), in order to set up a
company on the model of Air Senegal International, in which RAM has
51 per cent of shares. But Gabonese NGOs and SYPAG denounced the
talks with RAM.
- A decision by Africa's longest-serving leader to seek another seven
years in power has been criticised. President Omar Bongo, who came to
power in 1967, said at the weekend that he had "listened to the
people" and would seek another term in December's poll.
The 69-year-old's government recently told opposition leaders they
would lose their passports if they left Gabon. A group of exiles,
called Bongo Must Leave, says Gabon's people have had enough of his
"We are against the whole system, which Mr Bongo represents. We want
to clean it all up," leader Serge Besac told the BBC's Network Africa
by telephone from Washington.
The 69-year-old president launched a crackdown after complaints by an
opposition leader that the electoral register for December's
presidential poll had been inflated.
He was also said to be angered by a protest organised outside the
United Nations last month, staged as he was addressing a summit.
The government in Gabon has made changes to the constitution which
would allow President Bongo to run for office as many times as he