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A310 seizure forces Afrique suspension

Debt-laden Air Afrique has been forced to suspend its long-haul route network following the seizure of its four Airbus A310-300s by creditors.

The Abidjan, Ivory Coast-based carrier, which is owned by 11 French-speaking West African nations and the French Government, has been struggling financially since the CFA Franc, the currency shared by the African member states, was devalued by 50% in 1994. The airline blames the move by creditors, on delays that it has experienced in its effort to set up a special-purpose company into which the A310s and their related debt were to be transferred.

The four A310s, which are owned by a consortium of European banks, represent one-quarter of the West African carrier's fleet. The airline claims that it has been paying some CFA Fr300m (£300,000) each week for the past 18 months to service the debts.

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