Air Afrique has concluded a deal with International Lease Finance for the lease of two Airbus A330-200s, to enable it to upgrade its long-haul operations.

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire-based Air Afrique will take the two Pratt & Whitney PW6168-powered aircraft late next year on seven-year leases to operate services from West Africa to New York and Paris.

The move by the multinational carrier, owned by 11 African countries and Air France, comes after its privatisation plan was launched this year to resolve its precarious financial situation. In March, finance ministers from the 11 governments with stakes in Air Afrique agreed a partial privatisation plan for the airline.

Air Afrique's long-haul operations were disrupted last year when its four A310-300s were seized as debts mounted. The airline has restructured its fleet with dry and wet leases. It now operates 12 passenger aircraft - four Airbus A300B4s, two A300-600Rs, one A310 and five Boeing 737-300s. A 767-300ER is wet-leased from Air Europe for New York services.

Source: Flight International