Senegal has created Air Senegal, a new national airline intended to replace the West African nation’s now defunct, heavily indebted carrier Senegal Airlines, the minister of tourism and air transport said. Maimouna Ndoye Seck said the new company was formed with capital of 40 billion CFA francs ($69 million) aimed at making the new airline operational as quickly as possible as it seeks “a strong strategic partner”.
Senegal state-owned television had stated that Turkish Airlines was the front-runner to take a stake in Air Senegal. President Macky Sall was in Istanbul for a summit of Islamic nations. A ministry official confirmed the state had contributed the initial capital and total capital would eventually more than double to 100 billion CFA francs.
Airlines have long been a fraught business in West Africa though there have been some success stories, including Ivory Coast’s flagship carrier Air Cote d’Ivoire.
Congo Republic’s ECAir announced earlier this week that it was seeking to raise more than $100 million through a regional bond issuance in order to expand its fleet and routes.
Senegal revoked the air operator’s certificate of the previous carrier Senegal Airlines, which ran up debts of more than 100 billion CFA francs in less than five years of operation. The state owned a minority stake. By the time it was shut down, the airline no longer possessed any aircraft.
($1 = 580.7000 CFA francs)