Stranded passengers threaten to burn Cameroon airline office (Africa Review)

September 7, 2015

Disgruntled passengers of the Cameroon Airlines Corporation (Camair-co) Monday threatened to burn the office of the state firm in Yaounde over frequent flight cancellations.

The passengers, most of who had spent their vacation in Cameroon, said they had paid to travel about two weeks ago and the company had been postponing their flights without explanation.

They mounted barricades on the main road to the corporation’s office and burnt tyres before the intervention of law enforcement officers.

A Cameroonian studying in France, Mr Olivier Njoya, said he was on vacation and had paid to travel back to Paris on August 25.

“I came on August 25 and was told that I am late and that my flight has been cancelled. I was charged a penalty of CFA25,000 which I paid. I was then programmed to travel on September 2 but I was later told that the flight has been cancelled.”

Mr Njoya said he risked losing an academic year and his scholarship in Paris due to the extension of his holiday, imposed by Camair-co.

“We are worried because some of us already have expired documents. Most of us will lose our jobs, educationbecause of the poor management of Camair-co,” said Mr Mahop Souvernir, another affected passenger.

National carrier

“I was supposed to travel together with my family on August 24, but my wife and children left because I still had one or two things to do. I had to stay back. I paid a penalty of 120 Euros to Camair-co to re-schedule my flight. I respected the second date but where is the aircraft?”

“We are just stranded. There are people who have been at the airport for the past one week. They don’t even have where to take their bath,” Mr Souvernir added.

Camair-co officials did not issue any statement regarding the incident by the time of filing this report.

However, government officials came in to calm down the irate passengers.

Camair-co was created in September 2006 to replace the defunct Cameroon Airlines (Camair) which collapsed due to a managerial crisis.

The airline launched flight services in 2011, reviving hope for a more reliable national carrier.

Four years after, that dream seem to be an illusion, Cameroonians say.

”Its regrettable that we cannot manage the lone airline company in this country. How can a state-owned company be so consistently inconsistent?” asked Mr Alain Belate, one of the disillusioned passengers.

The trouble with the national airline has made most Cameroonians prefer using the more reliable foreign airlines like Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

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