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Read for you – Central African Republic: concerns about the possible takeover of Bangui airport

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The Asecna workers’ union is sounding the alarm, while the government wants to hand over the management and renovation of this airport to the Turkish group Damnus. They are worried that their jobs will disappear.

Representatives of the Asecna [African Air Navigation Safety Agency], members of the commission set up by the Department of Transport and Civil Aviation to “analyze the relevance of this contract” have just alerted the minister. For them, the contract goes against the interests of workers in the sector, but also and especially the Central African Republic.

The contract makes no reference to the staff of Asecna, which so far manages Bangui International Airport. No word also about the workers of many other companies engaged in the sector. “Some 250 jobs are at risk of disappearing overnight,” one employee representative said.
A contract that benefits Damnus

Another problem reported by the union is that this contract provides nothing, still according to this memorandum, for secondary aerodromes located in the provinces and financed in large part by the charges drawn from Bangui airport. But it is especially on the financial level that Damnus gets the lion’s share. He will operate the airport for two years before starting the renovation work. “Who is financing who?” the same union leader asks.

Thanks to another detail, the company could benefit even more. This contract relies on an increasing number of passengers each year. 75,000 for next year, for example, while 45,000 passengers are expected. It would be up to the Central African State to compensate for Damnus’ shortfall, according to this memorandum.

In the end, all the royalties and other benefits returned to the Turkish group should bring it back after 30 years, more than 750 million euros for an initial investment of 45 million euros, according to trade unionists. “A disaster,” according to RFI’s source.

The ASECNA workers’ union therefore announced that it could not support such a project, and called on the government to review its copy.

A senior Department of Transport official in charge of civil aviation wanted to reassure himself: «Nothing has been signed so far, we are still in the negotiation phase». For their part, the newspapers announce that a convention was signed on October 23.

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