Force Aérienne Gabonaise (Libreville Leon M'Ba) has had its sole widebody aircraft, a B777-200(ER) TR-KPR (msn 27108), impounded at Paris Orly by order of a French court in the district of Ivry-sur-Seine.

France's Le Figaro newspaper says the order was granted to an undisclosed Swiss firm, which specializes in fitting VIP aircraft interiors, in late February with the aircraft grounded in France since then. The firm claims it is owed USD8 million in outstanding debts by the Gabonese state.

For its part, the Gabonese Presidency has said it does not recognize the debt claimed by the Swiss firm adding that it never had any contract or dealings with it.

A hearing is scheduled to be heard at another district court located in Evry (Essonne) in due course.

This is the third impounding of an African-registered jet over these past six months following similar incidents with Air Algérie (AH, Algiers) and CEIBA Intercontinental (C2, Malabo).