Civil Aviation: a bright future for Cameroon

Published: Sunday, 28 November 2010 17:47

With the development of airports becoming a reality, the creation of private airlines and the increasing number of foreign airlines serving the country, civil aviation in Cameroon has a bright future.

At the initiative of the colonial power, Cameroon long before its political independence experienced an excellent development of its airport infrastructure with the creation of multiple airfields, implantation of radio navigation aids and communications aids, the setting up of a public airline and private air transport companies.


With the accession to national sovereignty, Cameroon quickly established an institutional framework which rapidly enabled her align herself to international standards, and enable her oversee the aviation sector which was in permanent evolution. Several airfields were built during the colonial era (see article: the arrival of civil aviation in Africa and Cameroon "). Some were constructed under precarious condition, others, created at the time of the rise of new cities, became increasingly cramped and congested as the population grew. All these had to be harmonized.

The first step involved adopting statutory instrument: Law No. 63 / LF / 35 of 5 November 1963 on the Civil Aviation code. This legislation allowed the development of Decree No. 68 / DF / 149 of 8 April 1968 establishing conditions for operating and closing airfields and aeronautical easements aids. On the basis of this instrument, it was possible to define the administrative requirements prior to the creation of airport platforms and their inspection.
At the same time while airfields developed into airports, more and more airstrips were created by forestry and construction companies. With the aid of these airstrips, these companies could receive spare parts for heavy machinery that had broken down. Three international airports were built: That of Douala initially located within the Bonapriso neighborhoods and later a more suitable site at Ndogpassi; Garoua and Yaounde Nsimalen which were beneficiaries of external funding respectively of 50 and 70 billion CFA francs received infrastructure worthy of their new status. This same investment efforts continued with the Bamenda airports (13 billionFcfa), Bafoussam (09 billionFcfa) and Maroua (7.5 billionFcfa) airport Cameroon can today proudly boast fourteen airports, over fifty airfields, runways and helipads which are inspected annually. This allows having reliable information on these infrastructures.

The Creation of private companies.
National air transport activity, as promoter of tourism was being developed by the national carrier Cameroon Airlines which for a long time provided domestic regionally and internationally services exclusively in respect of air agreements signed between Cameroon and countries before liberalization of air traffic rights after the Yamoussoukro Declaration (adopted in October 1988) opened up our international airports to several foreign companies (today there are over 66). Another category of flight traffic, that of charter flights, saw the light of the day, encouraged by timber companies which were eager to rapidly access the sites of their sawmills and to seek new felling areas. In this category were Ardic, Avian, Air Affairs Africa, Central Air Transport and Unify while some provided scheduled air transportation for domestic destinations and countries in the sub region after CAMAIR starting February 1991 abandoning flights to domestic airport. Timber companies had their own aircraft to facilitate transportation of their staff. This was the case of the SFID with a Cessna 402, SIBAF, a PA23 and ESCB, with Cessna 441. The creation of large farms facilitated the development of aerial work units based primarily on the fight against locust.
The Company “the society of plantations in Penja” (S.P.N.P.) thus acquired two Turbo Trash to spray chemicals over its banana plantations. The Sugar Company Cameroon (SOSUCAM) based in Mbandjock and Nkoteng on its part turned to a French company for the same needs for its sugar cane plantations. Corporations and religious organizations were not left in isolation.
The “international society of Linguistic” (I .S.L.) had a Cessna 06, the Evangelical Missions (Helimission based in the North West an  AS 350 B helicopter, the company Cameroon Helicopters (CAMHEL), specializing in the transport of personnel on petroleum platforms also possessed many helicopters. The Aero clubs of Yaounde created in 1949, Douala (1952), Garoua and Ngaoundere are owners of aircraft fit for training student pilots. Unfortunately, this beautiful fleet will gradually disappear under the onslaughts of the economic crisis which hit Cameroon very hard.

The aviation of tomorrow

Prospects for future development of civil aviation in Cameroon are mainly based on positive action which will be brought to enhance flight safety and airports, safety, regulations, future air navigation systems and international cooperation.
In terms of safety, Cameroon has taken a decisive step with the grant from the World Bank of 8 billion FCFA for the construction of security fences around the international airports of Douala and Yaounde Nsimalen. It is not a forfeit us offer. Cameroon, like the other member states of ICAO, following numerous acts of unlawful interference and sabotage that civil aviation has suffered since the 80s, has worked to reinforce security measures in all of its airports through the purchase of equipment for the screening of passengers and their luggage at international airports, the development of airport security programs as well as the training of AVSEC instructors and service technicians of safety devices, especially since the deadly attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States of America.
The donation of the World Bank appears in this regard as a strong signal from donors to encourage Cameroon to put in more efforts to enhance aviation security.
A real transformation was made following amendments to civil aviation regulations: Law No. 98/023 of 24 December 1998 on civil aviation regime has paved the way for greater involvement of aviation administrations in matters of aircraft and flight crew security, management of airport infrastructure and air transport. Cameroon is very closely following the work on the implementation of new CNS / ATM systems to enable it provide high quality air navigation service and oversee all operations intended to provide secure and rapid flow of traffic in the sky and within Cameroonian airports. True to the policy of participation prescribed by the Head of State, Cameroon has taken part in numerous expert meetings and seminars for civil aviation worldwide.
At the level of the sub-region, it was among the ten member states who signed the agreement on air transport in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in Bangui on March 8, 1989. She actively participated in the drafting of the Civil Aviation Code of CEMAC. She equally hosted in 2003 the fourteenth APIRG (African and Indian Ocean Planning and Implementation Regional Group), meeting and has signed several aviation agreements with friendly countries. In sum, Cameroon has taken a serious outlook for the development of civil aviation and no obstacle seems able to stop her.

Manfred Joshua Ngom
Representative CCAA Bafoussam Airport - Bamougoum
Headquarters: B.P.: 6998 Yaounde - Cameroon
telephone: (237) 22 30 30 90/22 30 26 92
Fax (237) 22 30 33 62
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.