Guinea and Indonesia exploring aviation cooperation

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Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and his Guinean counterpart Felix Lamah in January signed a Letter of Intent (LoI), the first step in the two countries’ commitment to explore cooperation in the aviation sector.

The initial cooperation agreement between the two countries will then be followed up at the technical level. The reception of the Guinean minister in Jakarta was a follow-up to the meeting between the Indonesian ambassador in Dakar, Senegal, and the Guinean government in September 2022. On that occasion, Guinea expressed its need to modernize the transport sector, and expressed interest in cooperating with Indonesia, especially in the air transport sector. In a written statement, the Indonesian transport minister said after receiving the Guinean transport minister in Jakarta “We are open to this opportunity and ready to cooperate with the Guinean government”. Diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Guinea started in 1964.

During his visit to Indonesia, Felix Lamah confirmed the wish of Guinea’s President Cololonel Mamadi Doumbouya expressed in September 2022 to create a national airline, Guinea Air. This would replace the project of private airline Guinea Airlines launched in 2017, which was cancelled in 2021 because of the disputes between the main shareholders (GBM and Paris-based Regourd Aviation) and of the obsolescence of the domestic airfields.

While visiting the production lines of PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), the state-owned aircraft manufacturer, the Guinean minister also expressed interest in using aircraft manufactured by PTDI, such as the civil version of CN-235 aircraft – of which at least 13 would be needed by Guinea Air to operate more than 80 routes in Guinea and West Africa. The CN-235 has been produced under license by PTDI since 2011 via an industrial collaboration with Spanish CASA, later integrated into Airbus Defence & Space.

“One of Guinea’s strategic projects is the development of the transport sector for social and economic improvement, for which PTDI is able to provide assistance for capacity building and aircraft acquisition,” indicated Felix Lamah in a press release.

According to Indonesian Airspace review, PTDI will support Guinea Air in the implementation of maintenance support for the CN235 aircraft and will provide spare parts, ground support equipment and tools, repairs and overhauls, technical modifications, technical services and training. PTDI has also reportedly announced that it can provide a maintenance centre in Guinea with various forms of high value-added collaboration to increase the competence and skills of Guinean human resources in the aerospace field.

While visiting the Museum of the Asian-African Conference, Indonesian Ambassador Dindin Wahyudin told Felix Lamah “the aircraft produced by PTDI in Bandung, like the Bandung Spirit of the Asian-African Conference, have spread to various countries in Asia and Africa”. He went on to say “PTDI is a strategic company in the field of aircraft manufacturing and its components. PTDI has produced a number of aircraft, which until now have been used by various countries, both for passenger transportation and military purposes”.

In addition, the Indonesian Minister of Transport revealed that the possibilities for cooperation are not only in the aviation sector, but are also open to other sectors, namely the land, maritime and rail sectors. The Indonesian Ambassador to Guinea, Dindin Wahyudin, and the Director General of Civil Aviation, Maria Kristi Endah Murni, also attended the event.

Written by ADIT – The Bulletin and republished with permission.