On Sunday 18th December, the national airline, Ceiba, launched a new route Malabo – Bamako (Mali). The secretary of State from the Department of Civil Aviation, Luciano Esono Biteghe, the Director General of Ceiba, Bienvenido Esono Engonga Okomo, the Mali Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Amadou Dem, company directors and other guests were on the first flight.
Two hours and fifty minutes is the duration of the Malabo-Bamako (Mali) flight, the new destination just begun by Ceiba, under its policy of expansion towards African countries. Before taking off from Malabo International Airport, Esono Engonga, in conversation with www.guineaecuatorialpress.com, stated that the aim of the company is to increase its coverage in routes, as this generates income.
He also recalled that the Government has just signed bilateral aviation agreements with Mali, which allow national carriers to use their respective airspace. Thus, Ceiba is acting on those agreements which were signed during the latest visit by the President of Mali to Equatorial Guinea.
In addition, the director affirmed that prior to the opening of this route, the company had carried out profitability studies, and determined that “with the huge colony of people from Mali resident in our country, neighbouring countries will be able to take advantage of this route”.
The Ceiba delegation, on arrival in Bamako, was received by the Minister for Transport, Traore Zenabou Diop. The act tool place in the airport terminal, firstly with a speech by Esono Engonga. In his address he recognised the efforts by the Mali and Equatorial Guinea authorities to bring about this agreement. He also highlighted the fact that Ceiba is a newly-formed company, but is reaching the majority of African capitals, thanks to the impetus and desire of the President of the Republic, H. E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who he described as a great Pan-Africanist.
Then he revealed the aim of the presence of Ceiba in Bamako: “to evolve our line, and respond to the demands of Mali residents in Equatorial Guinea”.
The Secretary of State from the Ministry for Civil Aviation, Luciano Esono Biteghe, when speaking, declared that the opening of this new route will boost trade and cultural relations between the two countries: “We think it is necessary to deepen our relations for the good of our cooperation, in order to contribute towards the development of our countries; where we have been colonised and under damaging influences”.
He also confirmed that supporting initiatives such as this one promotes tourism between the two countries, and that is in line with the policies of the two Heads of State. He concluded his speech by inviting the people of Mali to take advantage of this opportunity.
For his part, the Minister for Transport from Mali described the act as historical fro the sector, and assured that Mali is a safe destination. He also congratulated the two Heads of State for the good bilateral relations: “This maiden flight is a reason fro satisfaction between the two countries. The arrival of Ceiba is going to contribute towards the unlocking of Mali to the exterior. And this has come about under the initiative and creation of agreements between Equatorial Guinea and Mali, two countries which are geographically distant, but which this air transport is going to bring closer”.
Text and photos: Clemente Ela Ondo Onguene (DGPWIGE)
Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office
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