|Hubs||Conakry International Airport, Guinea|
Compagnie Nationale Air Guinée was the national airline of Guinea. The airline had its head office in Kaloum, Conakry. Founded in 1960, the airline had flights from Conakry International Airport. The company was privatised in 1992, and was eventually dissolved in 2002.
When the idea of Air Afrique was being mooted, Guinea and Mali opted not to join the consortium with other, mainly French West African, nations, and instead chose to form their own national airlines. In March 1960 the Guinean government signed a series of agreements with the Soviet Union, one of which provided for the supply of aircraft, crews and other technical assistance, ostensibly aimed at upgrading Conakry's airport. The company was founded by decree N°048/PRG/ on 31 December 1960, with technical support from the Soviets, who also supplied an aircraft: an Ilyushin Il-14. The aircraft originated from Czechoslovakia and was crewed by Czechoslovakian crews. Operations began before the end of the year, with flights from Conakry to Boké and Kankan, both of which had previously been operated by Union Aéromaritime de Transport. Service to Bamako commenced shortly afterwards, and the route was shared between Air Guinée, UAT and Air France. In April 1961, Air Guinée was nationalised.
Over the years services to Dakar, Freetown and Monrovia were started, with plans to service Paris and Moscow also raised; however, these services were not implemented because Guinea failed to obtain traffic rights to France. Before the relationship between Air Guinée and the Soviets concluded in 1963, the airline had obtained one Yakovlev Yak-40, four Antonov An-24s and two Antonov An-12s. In December 1962 Air Guinée signed a contract with Alaska Airlines which saw the American airline providing management expertise, in addition to two Douglas DC-6s. The deal would have seen Alaska Airlines contracting with the airline over a seven-year period; however, the contract ended after only six months, leading to the United States Agency for International Development paying a US$700,000 debt owed by the Guinean airline to Alaska Airlines.
Services from Conakry to Dakar with the Il-18 were inaugurated on 24 August 1962, and the route was later extended to Lagos via Monrovia, Abidjan and Accra. The Il-18 was later replaced by two Douglas DC-4s which were purchased from Alaska Airlines, and the airline also obtained four LASA-60s. By mid-1963 the Air Guinée fleet comprised six Avia-14s, three Ilyushin Il-18s, two Douglas DC-4s, two LASA-60s, one Aero 145, one Mil Mi-14 helicopter, five Yakovlev Yak-18s, three Antonov An-2s and one Yodel.
In 1965 Pan American World Airways was contracted to provide technical personnel and a DC-4 for the airlines' use; however, the agreement did not last for long, and the Soviets returned to the airline, supplying an Antonov An-24 for delivery in 1966-1967. In December 1965, the airline temporarily suspended operations as only one route was showing a profit, and the aircraft were suffering frequent breakdowns. On 9 July 1967 one of the airline's Il-18s was written off in an accident at Casablanca. The aircraft was on a scheduled flight to Prague when due to bad weather it was diverted to Casablanca. On landing, its left wing hit a building, causing the aircraft to crash into "rough ground". There were no fatalities amongst the 102 occupants on board, but the aircraft had to be written off.
In the 1970s the fleet was expanded with the addition of one Boeing 707, one Boeing 727-100 and one Boeing 737-200. An Air Guinée Il-18 crashed at Conakry on 3 September 1978, killing 15 of the 17 on board.
In 1985 an Airbus A300 was delivered to the airline in order to allow it to commence services to Paris and Brussels. By the early 1990s, Air Guinée operated domestic services from Conakry to Boké, Faranah, Kankan, Kissidougou, Labé, Macenta, Siguiri and Nzérékoré, and international flights to Abidjan, Bamako, Dakar, Freetown, Lagos and Monrovia.
By the late 1980s, the airline had cost the country some US$4 million and had no prospects for turning a profit for its shareholder, the Guinean government. The company was privatised in 1992, and was eventually dissolved in 2002.
- "Bienvenue." Air Guinée. Retrieved on 26 February 2010.
- Guttery, Ben R. (1998). Encyclopedia of African airlines. New York City, New York: Ben R. Guttery. pp. 78–79. ISBN 0-7864-0495-7.
- (French) "Historique". Air Guinée. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- "Guinea: A Reason to Worry". Time. 7 January 1966. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- O'Toole, Thomas; Baker, Janice E. (2005). Historical dictionary of Guinea (4 ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-8108-4634-9. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- (French) Air Guinée official website (Archive)