DAKAR, Senegal – Senegal will launch a new national airline, Air Senegal, intended to replace the nation’s defunct and heavily indebted carrier Senegal Airlines.
The country’s minister of tourism and air transport, Maimouna Ndoye Seck, during the announcement, said the new company was established with a capital of 40 billion CFA francs ($69 million), CNBC reports.
She noted that government is aimed at making the new airline operational as quickly as possible as it seeks “a strong strategic partner”.
Senegal state-owned television said on Friday that Turkish Airlines was the front-runner to take a stake in Air Senegal as President Macky Sall visited Istanbul for a summit of Islamic nations.
A ministry official confirmed the state had contributed the initial capital adding that the total capital would eventually more than double to 100 billion CFA francs.
Airline operation have for long been a fraught business in West Africa though there have been some success stories, including Ivory Coast’s flagship carrier, Air Cote d’voire.
Senegal revoked the air operator’s certificate of the previous carrier Senegal Airlines, which ran up debts of more than 100 billion CFA francs in less than five years of operation.
The state owned a minority stake and by the time it was shut down, the airline no longer possessed any aircraft.