Accessibility links

Flights Resume Between France and Cameroon

The French airline Air France has resumed flights to Cameroon, ending a dispute over France's decision last week to ban Cameroon Airlines from its airports for safety concerns. The resumption of services followed the decision by the French authorities to lift the ban after Cameroon agreed to make improvements.

Air France is flying again from Paris to Cameroon's commercial hub Douala, while Cameroon Airlines is now being allowed back into France by using chartered planes from Air Italy.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded in both directions since last Friday when the French civil aviation authority banned Cameroon Airlines from France's air space for safety reasons.

There are now six airlines on the French black list, including two others from Africa: Air Mozambique and Liberia's International Air Service. Cameroon Airlines was put on the list after a French investigation revealed a number violations of international safety standards, such as worn tires, leaks in hydraulic systems, transport of dangerous substances and outdated safety records.

The ban provoked uproar in Cameroon, according to journalist Francois Essomba.

"It was a very big disappointment and the reaction was very bad because a lot of people are traveling over there, I mean in France," he said.

Mr. Essomba says many Cameroonians received the ban with suspicion.

"People feel as if they are not accepted in France and for some of them it was just a way from the French government to stop them to go there, so a lot of people are now fighting immigration and talking about a racist country," said Mr. Essomba.

One Cameroonian union threatened to boycott incoming Air France flights, which led to the suspension of that airline's flights to Cameroon.

Cameroonian authorities have agreed to an independent audit of its airlines' operations and implementation of more stringent safety requirements.

Cameroon Airlines has a bad reputation in Africa for frequent flight delays, sudden flight cancellations and poor service. It has already been banned from flying to Britain.