January 11, 2006

More airport troubles?!

Man of man. It seems the Congolese Airlines want about $450,000 each from Air France, SN Brussels and Ethiopian Airlines. They have confiscated their boarding stairs, trucks and luggage belts.

And I didn’t think the travel experience in Kinshasa could get any worst.

DRC court orders seizure of airline equipment at Kinshasa airport
09 jan. 06 - 10.20h

KINSHASA, Jan 7 (AFP) - A Congolese court has ordered the seizure of equipment used by Air France, SN Brussels and Ethiopian Airlines for their alleged failure to pay for ground services, a judicial source said Saturday.

The source said the seizure, ordered late Friday at the request of Congolese Airlines (LAC), covered such items as boarding stairs, trucks and luggage belts at Kinshasa airport.

LAC claims that the three companies had not paid it for ground services since 2002, and is demanding 300,000 dollars in arrears plus another 150,000 in damages from each.

The three airlines targetted [sic] began a counter-suit Saturday, disputing LAC's claim to have a monopoly on services at the airport.

"We are going to pay nothing because we owe nothing," Air France representative Dominique Legrand said.

"There is an agreement between the Congolese state and the French state concerning our operations and we have nothing to do with LAC."

He added, "LAC has been incapable of supplying services for years. The only effect of this will be to frighten off potential investors by showing them that there is no legal protection for companies in the DRC."

A local civil aviation operator, who asked not to be identified, said LAC's move was "a last gasp" by the state-owned company.

"LAC has been bankrupt since 2003," he said. "It owes millions of dollars, has no serviceable aircraft and should have been wound up long ago. Its legal action is a last attempt at blackmail."

A DRC legal source said the three companies should soon have their equipment restored, though the case could drag on.

Source: MONUC

Thanks JKE and Chelsea (any relation to Bill Clinton? hahaha, I crack myself up) for posting on my GuestMap!


Carl said...

It can always get worse.

Or as somebody said, "Never provoke the God of 'It can't get any worse!'"

007 in Africa said...

Oh please don't said that.

TheMalau said...

Sister 007, believe me, it can be worse. You came to Congo after HBA and WDA were already created, and CAA, despite its rusty airplanes can hold its own... imagine how it was before that. I don't mean the 80's when Air Zaire and SCibe still worked. but after the demise of these two... It wasjust aweful. And Ndjili is a haven of peace compaed to what it used to be (can you believe that?). Anyway, it was about time these companies be reminded to pay their debts, even though I am sure nothing will come of it.

Something for you: "Kozanga koyeba eza liwa ya ndambu" (Ask someone what that means... it has got to be the most widespread Congolese proverb).