African carrier Cameroon Airlines insists that it is still conducting flights although three of its aircraft are said to have been grounded over debts.

Speaking on behalf of Cameroon Airlines, a spokesman from the Cameroon High Commission in London, UK says the airline has been obliged to renegotiate agreements with its fuel suppliers, but that has now been done and flights are operating as normal.

The spokesman said the carrier does not have the ability to buy fuel on futures markets to hedge against price rises, and the rising cost of oil has put pressure on its finances, which caused the need to renegotiate fuel supply arrangements. He says this has been done satisfactorily, but has not provided details of the arrangements.

However, for the past 10 days, claims a local media report, three of Cameroon Airlines’ aircraft have been grounded in Douala owing to non-payment of fuel bills, causing significant disruption to the airline’s operations.

It is unclear which aircraft types might have been affected. A Cameroon Airlines employee declines to comment on the claim or the airline’s fuel situation.

But she says the airline is operating a single Boeing 737 and 767, and adds: “We’ve never stopped [operating]. We’ve just had some disruption to the schedule.”

She says the airline today operated its flights to Libreville, Brazzaville and Kinshasa using a Boeing 737, as scheduled. The same aircraft is due to serve Bamako and Dakar today.

Cameroon Airlines’ Douala-Paris service has been cancelled today, she adds, owing to insufficient passenger numbers, but she adds that the Boeing 767-operated service will resume tomorrow.

Last April Cameroon’s Government decided to void Cameroon Airlines’ planned privatisation and restart the process. In June 2006 it selected Brussels Airlines as its preferred bidder for a 51% stake in a replacement carrier.

Source:'s premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news