Cameroon: A new airline enters the air transport market

Business in Cameroon | The Cameroonian Aviation Authority (CCAA) has just approved a new airline in the air transport sector. In an official document sent on October 12, 2022, to the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (Asecna), CCAA said it has welcomed Zejet on the market. For now, no information on the financial and transport capacities of the company has been released.

The newcomer will operate all air transport segments, including scheduled or on-demand passenger transport, cargo, and courier services. Moreover, with its license, Zejet can carry out both international and domestic flights, making it a rival to state-owned Camair Co, which has been struggling since 2011. To cope with the situation, the public company adopted a domestic flight-oriented strategy when it resumed operations in October 2020, after an 8-month shutdown. Even before this period of inactivity, Camair Co had experienced numerous failures on international routes.

An air transport connoisseur indicated that the newly approved airline could first choose to operate on the domestic segment, given the tough competition on international routes. Focusing on serving the northern regions (North, Adamaoua, and the Far North), which constitute the main market for domestic air transport in Cameroon and are so far only operated by Camair Co, will be a good deal for Zejet, the expert said.

Indeed, with the increasing deterioration of the road between Ngaoundéré and Garoua, the only road leading to Maroua, the regional capital of the Far North, and the reduction of rail service following the Eséka railroad disaster, people in the northern regions now prefer air transport.

In 2018, Camair Co reported it has carried about 343,000 passengers, including 104,000 from the northern regions. This is more than 30% of the overall volume of passengers transported over the year. These figures confirmed the status of the leading domestic air transport market given in 2016 by CCAA to the northern regions. That year, according to CCAA data, the two airports of Garoua and Maroua-Salak (the statistics for Ngaoundéré airport were not revealed) alone handled 38% of Camair Co’s domestic flights, outperforming the country’s two most important airport platforms, Yaoundé-Nsimalen (37%) and Douala (27%).

Let’s note that Cameroon approved another airline after Air Senegal announced its decision to exit the Cotonou-Douala-Libreville route as of October 30, 2022. The Senegalese company said the line has been generating low revenues since its launch in March 2021.

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