Cameroon-Tunisia: a direct air link announced for 2023-2024
Since 2017, the Tunisian and Cameroonian authorities have been planning to open a direct air link between their two countries. It was supposed to be launched in 2018, by Tunisair, like other routes. But in the meantime the Tunisian national airline has revised its growth ambitions downwards.
After the failure of 2018, and vague announcements, we are now more or less fixed on the likely opening date of the direct air link between Tunisia and Cameroon. "I am almost sure that a direct air line between Douala and Tunis will be opened by 2023-2024," said the Tunisian ambassador to Cameroon, Karim Becher, at the end of an audience granted to him by the Cameroonian Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, on 10 November 2022.
"We (Tunisair, editor's note) had the period of the pandemic that affected all airlines in the world. We are in the midst of a restructuring phase, we have acquired so far 3 Airbus A320neo, and there are 2 others, which will be dedicated to Central Africa," explained the diplomat. "I am someone who keeps his word, the last time we talked about it, it did not depend mainly on me," he insisted, speaking to the ministry's communication unit.
This insistence is not insignificant, when we know that over the years, he and other Tunisian officials have made several announcements in this regard, without them being materialized. On April 8, the subject was on the agenda of exchanges between the Cameroonian Minister of Transport and the same ambassador. At that time, nothing had been said about the planning of the opening of such a corridor.
But in June 2017, during the Tunisian-Cameroonian economic forum held in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian political capital, the then Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khemaïes Jehinaoui, announced the imminent opening of Tunisair's first commercial agency in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. That year, Tunisair was expanding in sub-Saharan Africa, where it had opened two new routes to Conakry in Guinea and Cotonou in Benin.
For 2018, it planned a direct route between Tunis and Douala, with an extension to Libreville (Gabon) and Ndjamena (Chad). Its growth plan also included Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Nairobi in Kenya. In the meantime, the Tunisian state-owned airline has revised its growth ambitions downwards.