Mauritania begins operation of new national airline


Mauritania has launched a new state-funded national Airline, Mauritania Airlines International, to replace the now defunct Mauritania Airways. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz introduced the new carrier on Wednesday with a short flight over the capital Nouakchott.

“Entirely financed by the state, this company has a fleet of three Boeing 737s meeting international criteria, of which one has a capacity of 116 passengers and 108 for the two others,” said company director Hassena Ould Ely. Two of the aircraft are 737-700s and one is a 737-500.
“Mauritania Airlines aims to strengthen its fleet with the purchase of a new aircraft which will open up areas inside the country.”
“From the beginning of May, the company will serve several destinations in Africa as well as Paris and Las Palmas (Spain) through regular lines offering security and comfort to passengers,” said Ould Ely. The carrier’s predecessor flew routes in 12 countries in Europe and Africa.

Mauritania Airlines will also launch cargo operations, which will benefit the fishery and other industries. Mauritanian officials said the new airline is intended to facilitate the expansion of trade in Africa and Europe, especially in France and Spain.

Mauritania Airlines is based in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and serves as the nation’s flag carrier. It replaces Mauritanian Airways, which ceased operations in December last year after being banned from European airspace. It was founded in 2006 and began operating with three aircraft in November 2007 but after two years the European Commission cited “persisting deficiencies in its operations and maintenance” and banned it from continuing its services to France and Spain.

Mauritanian Airways replaced Air Mauritanie, which was liquidated in October 2007 due to financial difficulties. Mauritania Airways was a joint venture between Tunisair, private investment and the government of Mauritania.