Senegal's Minister of Economy, Finance and Planning, Amadou Ba, has confirmed rumours circulating in the the country's press that Senegal Airlines (DN, Dakar) has been shut down.

Speaking in Dakar, Ba told Seneweb news that the Senegalese civil aviation authority (Agence Nationale de l'Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie - ANACIM) had indeed revoked the carrier's AOC last week.

"Senegal has initiated the process of creating a new airline," he said. "In the coming days, we should have a new airline."

The Senegalese Ministry of Transport issued a statement on Tuesday, April 12 indiciating the airline's designation as 'flag-carrier' had been revoked after it failed to deliver on its mandate.

"Despite the ongoing support of the State of Senegal, Senegal Airlines has not delivered on the development objectives assigned to it in its Concession Agreement. It is recalled that this agreement guaranteed the airline the exclusive use of air traffic rights held by Senegal," it said.

While details about the proposed new carrier remain scant, there has been talk of a possible deal with Swiss firm JetLease wherein six B737-800s would be acquired for almost USD200 million. The jets would then be placed with a newly established production firm which will then lease the aircraft out to Senegal Airlines's successor.

Mired in XOF60 billion (USD104.2 million) of debt, Senegal Airlines has struggled to maintain operations in recent months relying entirely on leased metal for its capacity needs. While it had operated A320-200s initially, the airline eventually downsized its operations to an EMB-120 and an ERJ-145 wet-leased from Transair (Senegal) (GTS, Dakar).

Based on ch-aviation analysis of Senegal Airlines' internet booking engine, codeshare flights with Brussels Airlines (SN, Brussels National) which were still sold as of yesterday are now also no longer available for sale.