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Air Afrique: the demise of a continental icon

Joseph Amankwah-Amoah and Yaw A. Debrah

Business History, 2014, vol. 56, issue 4, 517-546

Abstract: Although the rationale for multi-flag airlines' formation is rooted in contemporary strategic thinking, our understanding of their emergence and subsequent mass disappearances in the twentieth century remains an elusive issue. This article seeks to fill this void by examining the emergence, ascendency and demise of Air Afrique, an airline once seen as a symbol of regional integration in Africa. This examination takes a historical perspective and covers the period from 1961 to 2002. On the basis of this historical analysis, five distinct stages have been identified reflecting the firm's glorious days, precipitous decline and subsequent collapse. These are: the golden age; Africanisation; escalating indecision, escalating commitment and dissolution phases. Each phase provides insights into the deterministic and voluntaristic perspectives of organisational failure. The implications of the findings of this research for theory and practice are discussed.

Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2013.809523

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