Cameroon Airlines

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Cameroon Airlines
Cameroonair.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
QC UYC CAM-AIR
Founded 1971
Ceased operations 2008
Hubs Douala International Airport
Focus cities Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport
Company slogan Pour mieux vous servir.
To serve you better.
Headquarters Douala, Cameroon
Website cameroon-airlines.net(archived)

Cameroon Airlines was an airline from Cameroon, serving as flag carrier of the country. Based in Douala, it operated scheduled services within Africa, as well as to Europe and the Middle East out of its hub at Douala International Airport,[1] with a second network focus on Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport. The company was 96.43 per cent state owned, with the remaining shares having been held by Air France. It ceased operations in March 2008; its role as Cameroon's flag carrier was taken over by Camair-Co.

History[edit]

A Cameroon Airlines Boeing 747-200 approaches Orly Airport in 1989.

Cameroon Airlines was founded on 26 July 1971 in an effort to create a national Cameroonian airline, as until then domestic and international flight operations at the airports in the country were mostly executed by multi-national Air Afrique. Scheduled flights between Douala and Yaoundé were launched on 1 November of that year with an initial fleet of two Boeing 737–200 aircraft. Shortly thereafter, international flights to Rome and Paris commenced using an ex-Air France Boeing 707, which was replaced by a larger and more modern Boeing 747–200 in 1982. (This aircraft remained in service with Cameroon Airlines until 2000, when it was severely damaged in Flight 70, see below.)

Over the years, Cameroon Airlines was plagued by financial difficulties, which came along with a poor safety and maintenance record. On 16 September 2005, the airline was indefinitely banned by the French Civil Aviation Authority from operating its prestigious Paris route due to safety concerns that had arisen following aircraft check-ups that had revealed failures to meet international norms in the loading, transport of dangerous materials, navigation documentation and tire maintenance.[2]

In an effort to save the airline from bankruptcy, the Government of Cameroon signed an agreement with SN Airholding, the parent company of Brussels Airlines to ensure the future funding. The plans did not materialize, though. Instead, on 11 September 2006, the launch of Camair-Co as new national airline was announced.[3] Cameroon Airlines stayed operational until March 2008, though flight operations had only taken place during irregular intervals over these last years.

Route network[edit]

During the 1970s[edit]

At that time, the Cameroon Airlines fleet consisted of two Boeing 737-200 and two Douglas DC-4 aircraft for short haul flights, as well as one Boeing 707-300 for long haul flights to Europe. Scheduled destinations included:[4][5]

During the 1990s[edit]

Cameroon Airlines had scaled down the domestic route network in a cost-saving measure, relying on the larger sub-Saharan cities as well as some European destinations:[6]

Fleet[edit]

A Boeing 757-200 in 2002, again at Charles de Gaulle Airport, the most important international destination of Cameroon Airlines.
A Boeing 747-300, the largest aircraft to have ever operated by the airline, at Luxembourg Findel Airport in 2003.
A Boeing 767-300 of Cameroon Airlines at Dubai International Airport in 2005.

Over the years, Cameroon Airlines operated the following aircraft types:[7]

Aircraft Introduced Retired
Boeing 707-300
Boeing 737-200 1971 2006
Boeing 737-300 1996 2005
Boeing 747-200 1981 2000
Boeing 747-300 2001 2004
Boeing 757-200 2002 2008
Boeing 767-200 2001 2008
Boeing 767-300 2000 2008
Bombardier CRJ200 2001 2002
Douglas DC-4
Hawker Siddeley HS 748
Twin Otter
Embraer 145

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 31 October 1981, a Cameroon Airlines Twin Otter (registered TJ-CBC) did not gain sufficient altitude upon take-off at Bafoussam Airport because of a severe overload, causing the aircraft to crash, by which one passenger was killed. (There had been 22 passengers and two pilots onboard).[8]
  • On 30 August 1984, Cameroon Airlines Flight 786, a Boeing 737-200 registered TJ-CBD, experienced an engine explosion when taxiing at Douala International Airport prior to departure for Yaoundé. A fire from the damaged fuel tank engulfed the aircraft. Two passengers were trapped by the flames and died. The remaining 107 passengers and seven crew members were able to evacuate the plane.[9]
  • On 28 June 1989 at 21:19 local time, a Cameroon Airlines Hawker Siddeley HS 748 (registered TJ-CCF) overshot the runway upon landing in stormy weather at Yaoundé International Airport following a scheduled flight from Douala and collided with an embankment, killing the two pilots and one of the 45 passengers on board.
  • On 3 December 1995 at 22:44 local time, Cameroon Airlines Flight 3701, which was operated by a Boeing 737–200 (registered TJ-CBE), crashed near Douala, killing 71 out of the 76 people on board in what marked the worst accident in the history of the airline. The aircraft had attempted to land at Douala International Airport following a flight from Cotonou, when it experienced a problem with the landing gear. During a go-around following a second landing attempt, the pilots chose a wrong thrust application for the engines, which led to the aircraft running out of control.[10]
  • On 5 November 2000 at 20:57 local time, Cameroon Airlines Flight 70 from Douala to Paris, which was operated by a Boeing 747-200 (registered TJ-CAB), veered off the runway upon landing at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, causing the front landing gear to be torn off and the aircraft being damaged beyond repair. All 187 passengers and 16 crew members could be evacuated. The cause for the accident was determined to be a differential thrust that had been caused by the failure of three of the four thrust reversers to deploy properly. Running against air accident regulations, the pilots had not stopped the cockpit voice recorder, so that the 30-minutes loop tape was overridden and vital information was lost for the investigators.[11][12]
  • On 4 February 2004 at approximately 20:00 local time, a Cameroon Airlines 737-200 (registered TJ-AIO) suffered a blown tyre upon take-off at Cotonou Airport, which resulted in a small fire that could be put out following an emergency landing.[13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]