The West African state of Ivory Coast will again have its own airline this summer, when Air Cote D’Ivoire launches regional services in July.

The airline is a partnership with Air France (AF) and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), the economic development agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) (ATW News, Feb. 29).

Initial capital was set at XAF2.5 billion ($4.9 million) and will rise in the short term to XAF25 billion. The Ivory Coast government will retain a majority 51% stake in the new airline, while AF will hold 20% and the AKFED holding company will have 15%. The remaining shares will be held by private Ivory Coast investors.

The new airline will work closely with neighboring Air Burkina and Air Mali, which are also part of the AKFED Group, to develop technical, commercial and operational synergies.

“These three airlines will cooperate very close together, in order to build an economically viable long-term model,” Abdoulaye Coulibaly, chairman of the steering committee for the creation of the new airline, said.

Having established regional routes, Air Cote D’Ivoire will begin operating a domestic route network by the end of this year. Flight and cabin crew recruitment is underway and it is believed the airline will initially operate two leased Airbus A319s, although fleet details have not been confirmed.

Government plans for the new airline were first announced in November 2011 to replace the former Air Ivoire, which ceased operations in March 2011.