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RAM row grounds Senegal flights
A row with Royal Air Maroc has jeopardised Air Senegal International's viability.
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2009 23:08 GMT
About 274 passengers were stranded in Dakar as a result of the row with Royal Air Maroc [AFP]

About 500 passengers have been left stranded after Air Senegal International (ASI)  stopped operations and cancelled all of its flights due to an ongoing row between Senegal and the majority shareholder Royal Air Maroc (RAM).

Royal Air Maroc, which owns 51 per cent of ASI and had provided the airline with several aircraft, recalled its last plane from Air Senegal's fleet, leaving them with only two operating planes.

In Dakar, Senegal's capital, 274 people due to fly to Paris and other African locations were stranded at the airport, according to Air Senegal officials.

In Paris and at other locations across Africa, about 224 people were also unable to board their flights.

Royal Air Maroc announced on Friday that Air Senegal (ASI) had stopped operating and cancelled all flights.

"This is the inevitable consequence of the situation created by the Senegalese side," RAM said in a statement released on Friday.

"For several weeks Royal Air Maroc has warned its Senegalese co-shareholders that there was a risk Air Senegal would stop its activities."

History of disagreements

The Moroccan airline first invested in ASI in 2000, but the relationship had deteriorated in recent years.

RAM criticised Senegal for the country's decision in 2007 to take majority control of the airline after Senegal accused RAM of bad management.

The relationship took a turn for the worse When a Senegalese court ruling banned RAM from withdrawing from the Senegalese carrier earlier this month.

RAM has also said that Senegal owes the company about 4 million euros.

Senegal, on the other hand, has accused RAM of blocking an audit of the firm ordered by a court in Dakar earlier this month.

"Royal Air Maroc's planned disengagement should allow the Senegalese State to realise its wish to take control of its national company in the best of conditions," RAM said.

Source:
Agencies
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