Cameroon Airlines Corporation, Camair-Co, will more than double its present passengers to be considered 'profitable' according to international standards. "As at now, we have 30 per cent passengers and it is by far not profitable. To be a profitable airline, we need 66 per cent passengers," the General Manager of the new carrier, Alex Van Elk, made the assessment in his first monthly meeting with the press in Douala yesterday May 3.The slow take off was said to be as a result of failures of the company in the past four years and so with its take off this year, passengers are still to get used to it for patronage. Nonetheless, there has been feedback of public excitement during flights.
"Being just five years; Camair-Co has optimum products as compared to other airline companies," the GM added. To ease access to flight tickets and boost patronage, efforts are being deployed towards putting up booking on the Internet and payment by credit cards.
"We have had three flight cancellations due to technical problems," said Van Elk. The flight disruptions resulted from technical problems at the wheels, reface indication and on the board of the engine and brake spare that was not functioning well.
Some of these necessitated complete replacement with new ones and Lufthansa Techniques played its role effectively. "These disruptions happen with all aircraft in the world. It is not just Camair-Co."
The flight cancellations cost untold expenditures as the company had to make lodging arrangements for passengers. He pointed out that flights to Paris are far from being full due to competition from other companies, like Air France that has 10 flights a week to Cameroon.Plans
"We are replacing our regional routes with shorter ones. We will soon fly to Maroua, Garoua and Yaounde directly from these destinations because passengers have complained that the former routes were long," he told the press.
A third airplane Boeing 737-700 on lease from US-based ACG company is expected to arrive in Cameroon about the middle of next month and start flights to Libreville, Lagos, Cotonou, Dakar, Brazzaville and Bangui.
The VIP lounge at the Nsimalen Airport inYaounde has been secured also as a measure of comfort for customers. In Douala, a big passenger lounge is being built. Arrangements are being made to change flight time to Paris in response to passenger demands to connect easily with other airlines flying to other destinations.
No exclusive reservations of flights will be made for government officials, but they will have to buy tickets and board with other passengers. "If it should happen, then I leave Cameroon," warned Van Elk.
He added that the same issues contributed to the fall of the former carrier, Camair. He used the occasion to debunk media reports that linked him to drug dealing as well as misinformation that he is receiving a monthly salary of 25 million FCFA, describing them as "pertinent lies".