Air Afrique: Wikis


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Air Afrique
Air Afrique logo.svg
Founded 1961
Ceased operations 2002
Headquarters Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Key people

Air Afrique was headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire,[1] and was established as the official transnational carrier for francophone West Africa.



Air Afrique was founded on March 28, 1961. Its main shareholders at the time were Société pour le Développement du Transport Aérien en Afrique (SODETRAF) and the following West African countries:

Air Afrique was originally conceived in February 1960 as a joint subsidiary of Air France and Union Aéromaritime de Transport (UAT) to take over the regional services these airlines had operated in Africa.

Air Afrique was reconstituted as a joint venture between Air France and UAT, each of which had a 17% holding, and eleven newly independent former French colonies in West Africa who contributed the remaining 66% of the capital.[2] The objective was the creation of a comprehensive network of internal air services within the countries that co-owned Air Afrique as well as international air services within Africa and beyond.

Following its merger with Compagnie de Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux (TAI) in 1963, UAT passed on its stake in Air Afrique to UTA. UTA in turn transferred its stake in Air Afrique to SODETRAF, as did Air France. (The former held 75% of SODETRAF's share capital while Air France owned the remaining 25%.) This resulted in SODETRAF acquiring a 28% stake in the airline under a 15-year agreement.[3]

Cameroon and Gabon withdrew from the consortium in the early 1970s, while Togo joined in January 1968. This gave each of the eleven countries a 6.54% stake.[3]

The newly formed multinational airline commenced commercial operations in August 1961 with Douglas C-54/DC-4 and Douglas DC-6 piston-engined equipment.

Air Afrique launched its first intercontinental, long-haul scheduled service to Paris (operated with Lockheed Constellations) during its first year of operation itself. The airline's long-haul scheduled services also served other major French cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux, as well as Rome Fiumicino in Italy, Geneva in Switzerland and New York JFK in the US. During the 1980s there was a short-lived service to London Gatwick in the UK as well.

A leased Douglas DC-8 was the first jet aircraft to join Air Afrique's fleet in 1962.

In 1973 the airline acquired its first widebody, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 30 series. From October 1980 to March 1984 a Boeing 747 was operated as well. A number of Airbus A310 and Airbus A300-600s were used from the late 1980s.

In addition, the company's fleet included the Airbus A300 B4 series, Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle 10B/11R series, Antonov An-12, Boeing 737 200/300 series as well as the Boeing 707 320C series freighter.

In 1990 Air France became UTA's controlling shareholder. This resulted in UTA's stake in Air Afrique passing into Air France's hands.[3]

In 2001, the African governments, which originally owned 68% of the company, sold almost two thirds of their combined shareholding in Air Afrique to Air France and other, private investors in exchange for a $69 million investment in the ailing airline. Air Afrique eventually folded later the same year with debts of US$500 mn and three operational aircraft.[4]

Incidents and accidents

On July 24, 1987, Hussein Mohammed Hariri, a man claiming to be a member of Hezbollah, hijacked an Air Afrique DC-10 en route from Rome to Paris. He demanded to be flown to Beirut and, as a sign of his determination, murdered a French passenger, one of 148 passengers on board the flight. He also seriously wounded a flight attendant who attempted to overpower him.




Southwest Asia


North America



  1. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March 1985. 33." Retrieved on 17 June 2009.
  2. ^ World Airline Survey - The World's Airlines, Flight International, 12 April 1962, p. 551
  3. ^ a b c The eleven member countries, Air Transport, Flight International, 7 August 1975, p. 177
  4. ^ A striking end for Air Afrique – by BBC Africa analyst Elizabeth Blunt, 26 November 2001
  5. ^ a b "Africa's springtime of hope." The Washington Times.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Home Page as of September 5, 2000. Air Afrique.
  7. ^ Liberia: Air Afrique resumes flights.
  9. ^ a b "A filthy lobby, sullen-faced employees, no place to sit, and a vague sense of danger all add up to the World's Worst Airport.". "Ask the Pilot." Salon. 2.
  10. ^ "COMING INTO NAIROBI VERY SOON !." Air Afrique. 29 August 2000.


  • Flight International. Sutton, UK: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0015-3710.   (various backdated issues relating to Air Afrique, 1961-2001)

External links

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