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RAM Sets Up Gabon Airline JV

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Moroccan flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has created a joint venture airline in Gabon as part of a drive to expand in Africa, where it sees strong growth, RAM said on Thursday.

"RAM has a 51 percent share in Air Gabon International while the government in Gabon owns 49 percent," it said, adding that it had appointed a top manager at RAM, Mohammed Amraou, to lead the operation.

RAM gave no financial details on the joint venture, and an official said such details would be made public later.

The carrier, which aims to set up more joint-venture airlines in Africa, also has a majority stake in Air Senegal International.

It aims to become a diversified group by 2012 with activities including low-cost airline Atlas Blue, hotels, a call center, a maintenance facility and affiliate airlines in Africa.

It plans to invest about 2 billion Moroccan dirhams (USD$218 million) a year over the next six years, compared to around 7 billion invested in the 2001-2005 period, officials said.

RAM expects its passenger traffic to grow 20 percent this year to about 4.5 million and sees growth of more than 120 percent in passenger traffic across all of Africa.

(Reuters)

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