The making of Fly ZeJet, Cameroon's first privately-owned scheduled airline

Flyjet

Fly ZeJet

The Cameroonian aviation sector received an historic boost on March 23, 2023, when Fly ZeJet officially launched its operations as the nation’s first privately-owned scheduled airline.

Armed with a fleet of three (03) Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft, each with a 50-passenger capacity, acquired for a total investment of around 4 billion CFA francs, and a team of around forty dedicated employees, Fly ZeJet stands out for its professionalism and quality of service.

The company quickly established itself as a key player in the industry, offering premium services and an unrivalled flying experience.

In its first year of operation, Fly ZeJet focused on private flights, offering its customers a personalised and flexible experience. The company’s statistics bear witness to its dazzling success. On March 31, 2024 and after 12 months of operation, the company’s operational statistics for private flights alone are highly promising.

The company owes its existence and successful take-off and smooth running to a visionary known as Christophe Semengue, a former Air France executive who brought his wealth of experience in the aviation sector to bear on the company.

After obtaining the Air Operator’s Certificate in December 2022 and subsequently began operation in 2023, it was crystal clear Semengue had a road map of his destination and how to get there.

All his years of toiling in the aviation industry had prepared him for the big task, which is Fly ZeJet and he hit the ground running armed with an impeccable credentials.

Profile of Christophe Semengue
In 1996, Master of science NVQ level 5 (DEA or equivalent BAC +5) in Fundamental Physics obtained at the Université des Sciences et Techniques de Lille in France.

Then from 1997 to 2000, he obtained a specialist engineering degree from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs in Paris, graduating with a Petroleum and Engines Engineering degree with a specialisation in the application of petroleum and energy products, as well as a Master of Science degree from the Institut Français du Pétrole and Mc Gill University in Canada.

Finally, after 10 years of professional experience in air transport with the Air France KLM group, I obtained an Executive MBA “Major in Aviation” at HEC Paris, with a thesis on the creation of the sub-regional airline ZEJET.
Christophe SEMENGUE’s career path:
Christophe SEMENGUE is a Cameroonian with a wealth of experience in the air transport industry.

After spending more than ten years with Air France KLM at the company’s headquarters in Roissy Charles De Gaulle, where he held various positions of increasing responsibility, such as Business Analyst, Project Manager and Program Director in various sectors of activity such as: Aircraft Maintenance, where he was responsible for the regulatory monitoring of the company’s Boeing 767, Boeing 777 and Airbus A310 ETOPS fleets, with the implementation of an innovative aircraft parameter monitoring system adopted by BOEING for its new- generation Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft,

Flight Operations, where he was in charge of implementing the regulatory monitoring system for the company’s pilots and pilot instructors, i.e., almost 6,000 cabin crew,

Commercial, where he was in charge of merging the Air France and KLM sales forces as part of the Air France KLM merger, and finally,

Marketing, where he has been entrusted with a number of important missions.

He then joined the American group Verizon Business as a Senior Consultant in the Governance, Risk and Compliance practice. In this capacity, he was entrusted with a number of strategic assignments in various CAC 40 groups in the luxury goods, banking, service and hotel industries. On the strength of his expertise and his passion for aviation, he has always nurtured the desire to create a private airline in Cameroon.

History of the creation of ZeJet by Mr Christophe SEMENGUE: Some key dates in the creation of the ZeJet project:

In 2003: Christophe SEMENGUE studied the implementation of a pilot crew training solution in Cameroon with a French partner.

2004: Study on setting up an aircraft maintenance centre in Cameroon with a Canadian partner. He travelled to Calgary for this purpose.

2007: Drafting of a business plan to set up a category 3 operation with various partner operators and aircraft manufacturers.

In 2008: Reservation of the ZEJET domain name.

In 2009: Preparation of a business plan based on the EMBRAER ERJ-
145. This airline creation project will be the subject of a research thesis for an Executive MBA “Major In Aviation” at HEC Paris.

In 2009: Signature of an NDA for this project with a financial partner.

In 2012: Meets the Cameroonian authorities on the sidelines of the ICAO General Assembly in Montreal (Canada) to tell them about his plans to set up an airline in Cameroon.

In 2016: Renewed contact with Brazilian manufacturer EMBRAER.

In 2019: Updating of traffic and market data in order to identify aircraft acquisition opportunities. Contact the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA). Sign an agreement with the future aircraft vendor after carrying out a comparative technical and financial study of the aircraft best suited to the ZEJET project.

January 2020: Filing of the initial articles of association of the company ZEJET as founder with the Professional partnership G. D. MBOUDOU AHANDA, C. C. NGUINI MESSINA and J. A. KWA- MBETTE. The deed containing the Articles of Association of the aforementioned company was registered on 10 June 2020 Vol. 03 Folio 788, Case/Bd 6409, then amended according to register number 31.024 of 17 February 2021.

February 2020: Application to the CCAA for an air ticket for ZeJet.

April 2020: Opening of negotiations with the seller for the acquisition of the ZeJet fleet. These negotiations will continue until the contract for the sale of the aircraft is finalised and signed.

June 2020: Registration of the ZeJet – FLY ZeJet brand with the French Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle (INPI).

October 2020: Agreement in principle reached with GTC SARL to acquire a stake in the company under a partnership agreement signed on 15 October 2020.

February 2021: Validation of the administrative investigation into the promoter Mr Christophe SEMENGUE in accordance with Article 100 of Law 2013/010 of 24 July 2013 governing civil aviation in Cameroon by the General Delegation for National Security.

February 2021: GTC SARL acquires a stake in ZeJet.

August 2021: CNPS acquires a stake in ZeJet.

December 2021: Arrival of the first ZeJet aircraft in Yaoundé on 8 December 2021, in accordance with the certification process, which requires the company to have at least one aircraft of its own.

From February 2020 to December 2022: Company certification procedure, with the Air Operating Licence obtained on 12 October 2022 and the Air Transport Certificate obtained on 12 December 2022. It is only from this date that the company is authorised to carry out its operations.

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