* Air Senegal grounds all remaining flights
* Senegalese, Moroccans exchange blame
* RAM pulls out of deal
DAKAR, April 24 Air Senegal International (ASI)
has stopped operations as a row between the Senegalese state and
majority shareholder Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has grounded all
remaining flights, the Moroccan airline said on Friday.
RAM, which owns 51 percent of ASI and had provided several
aircraft, recalled its last plane from the airline's fleet
earlier this month, leaving ASI, one of West Africa's few
reliable carriers, with just two operating planes.
"Today, Air Senegal International has ceased operations and
stopped all flights. This is the inevitable consequence of the
situation created by the Senegalese side," RAM said in a
statement released on Friday.
"Despite several warnings from Royal Air Maroc, they
(Senegal) made decisions that harmed the existence of its
national company, its personnel, and its passengers," the
Moroccan airline said.
Senegal's transport ministry was not immediately available
for comment on Friday.
The Moroccan airline first invested in the airline in 2000
and ASI's first flight was in 2001 but the relationship has
deteriorated in recent years.
RAM criticised Senegal for the country's unilateral decision
in 2007 to take majority control of the airline, a move that has
not yet materialised. RAM also says Senegal owes the company
about 4 million euros.
For its part, Senegal has accused the Moroccan company of
blocking an audit of the firm ordered by a court in Dakar
earlier this month.
RAM said Senegal had refused to accept proposals it made in
March, and the Moroccans now want to pull out of the deal in an
orderly manner as over 500 jobs are already in danger.
"Royal Air Maroc's planned disengagement should allow the
Senegalese state to realise its wish to take control of its
national company in the best of conditions," RAM said.
(Reporting by Joseph Penney; Editing by David Lewis)