Gabon plans to launch a new national airline that could be operational early next year, President Ali Bongo Ondimba said Thursday.
The west African nation had two previous national carriers, including Air Gabon, which was liquidated in 2006, and its successor, Gabon Airlines, that has not flown for the past six months.
"I have therefore decided on the creation of a new national air company," Bongo said following a cabinet meeting in the central town of Mouila.
Preparations, he explained, are "already well advanced" and the project could be finalised before the African Cup of Nations Football tournament, scheduled for January and February 2012.
Gabon is co-hosting Africa's top football tournament with its neighbour Equatorial Guinea.
Bongo said Gabon had suffered from a lack of domestic service and, to a lesser extent, limited international service, since Air Gabon's extinction.
Gabon largely consists of equatorial forest and there are few roads connecting rural communities to the capital Libreville.
(c) 2011 AFP
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