The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is a country located in middle Africa. Although facilities and options for air travel are limited, they are improving the capital Malabo served by Air France, Lufthansa and Iberia Airlines, providing daily services to various destinations in Europe. Additionally, Ethiopian Airlines has now started regular services to Malabo. Malabo International Airport, otherwise known as Malabo Santa Isabel Airport (SSG), is the main gateway to the country, followed by Bata Airport (BSG) which has the only other paved runway. Equatorial Guinea Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the regulatory body for aviation in the country.
Airports in Equatorial Guinea
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Air CEMAC, a proposed start-up joint venture between six central African nations and Air France is inching its way to fruition. But tense negotiations between the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) member states of Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Republic of the Congo, and their prospective strategic partner Air France are at a delicate stage as the latest deadline to launch the carrier by the end of 2013 looms.
A key sticking point appears to be Air France insisting on taking a strategic 33% blocking stake in the joint venture while also demanding that Air CEMAC be granted a monopoly on future CEMAC regional routes, a proposition that could be severely damaging to the region’s existing carriers.
Air CEMAC aims to provide regional services linking the CEMAC states as well as the island nation of São Tomé & Príncipe to the rest of Africa. The plan has been 10 years in the making and Air France is almost certainly the final chance for the union to turn their wish for a common carrier into a reality as the original start-up capital is reportedly almost exhausted. Three potential strategic partners, Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and most latterly South African Airlines have all previously looked and walked away.
Equatorial Guinea is in an enviable position in comparison to much of the rest of Africa. The discovery of ample petroleum reserves has altered the economic and political status of the country. Its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ranks 64th in the world according to the CIA World Fact Book and its GDP growth rate during this decade has been the highest in the world at over 60%.
Despite poor living conditions for many of the population in what is still regarded as a country lacking basic human rights, the oil wealth has at least obviated the need for the government to seek outside help to fund new airport infrastructure, as the commissioning and recent opening of the President Obiang Nguema International Airport at Mongomeyen proved. The USD375 million project was funded entirely by the government.