• Short Summary

    With the future of Air Afrique at stake, leaders of the 11 countries owning the multi-national airline gathered in Abidjan on Sunday (December 26th).

  • Description

    With the future of Air Afrique at stake, leaders of the 11 countries owning the multi-national airline gathered in Abidjan on Sunday (December 26th). At an extraordinary meeting the following day, they discussed ways of shaking up Air Afrique's finances.

    Visnews cameraman Bill Woodman filmed the arrivals at Abidjan's Port-Bouet Airport on Sunday, where half a dozen African heads of state were greeted by president Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast. Problems under discussion at their subsequent meeting centred on the Withdrawal of Cameroun from the company -- reportedly owing Air Afrique 600 million CFA francs (about GBP1 million sterling) -- and on other growing debts.

    SYNOPSIS: A financial crisis in Air Afrique, the multi-national African airline, brought representatives of the eleven-member nations to Abidjan on Sunday. The following day they were to discuss business at an extraordinary meeting.

    Among the first arrivals -- President Leopold Senghor of Senegal and Mauritania Trade Minister Ahmed Ould Abadallah. President Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast welcomed them. The problems confronting Air Afrique are centred partly on the recent withdrawal of Senegal from the company. Just prior to the extraordinary meeting, it was revealed that Senegal still owed Air Afrique six-hundred million CFA france -- that's about a million pounds sterling. It was stated that a similar sum is time up in installations belonging to the company, which Senegal has been using without Air Afrique's agreement.

    Another African leader lying in to make a personal appearance at the meeting was President Hamani Diori of Niger.

    He was accompanied by the prime Minister of Upper Volta, M. Gerard Kange Ouedraogo. The Ivorian head of state again led the welcome. Apart from Senegal, existing member states of Air Afrique have run up debts of about twenty-five hundred million CFA frances -- roughly four-million pounds sterling. The Director-General of the company, M. Cheikh Fal. has said that despite the debts Air Afrique is the only airline in Africa not showing a deficit. But he has warned that the situation could become very serious if present debts are allowed to increase. The company is currently operating a dozen aircraft and employs four-thousand peoples -- making it one of the two most important airlines in Africa.

    Representing Gabon at the extraordinary meeting was President Albert Bernard Bongo. He and his fellow leaders at the meeting decided on a thorough shake-up of the finances of Air Afrique. In a communique, they said that strong measures would be taken to ensure that the non-payment of debts did nothing to weaken the company's financial structure.

    Flying in to represent the Central African Republic at the meeting was President Jean Bedel Bokassa. Chad, the Congo, Dahomey, and Togo also sent high-level delegations to the meeting.

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