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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Air Congo: A New Airline For Central Africa

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) yesterday shared that it is gearing up to launch a new aviation operation. The Central African country’s Ministry of Transport has announced that the new airline will be called Air Congo.

Boeing 737 landing
There is a new carrier in town for passengers traveling through the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Getty Images

A strong partner

A partnership with Ethiopian Airlines is central to this new business. The national carrier of Ethiopia will hold 49% of the company’s shares and provide what DRC officials call “quality aircraft.” The DRC will control the remaining 51% of the shares.

According to a tweet shared by the DRC’s Ministry of Transport, Ethiopian Airlines will provide at least seven planes as part of the joint venture. This move is the result of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed last month.

“The opening up of the national territory is the essential basis for economic and social development, in particular through the upgrading of air transport in optimal conditions of safety and security. It is in this context that I place my partnership strategy with Ethiopian Airlines.” – Cherubin Okende Senga, DRC Minister of State in charge of Transport and Communication shared, as reported by Xinhua.

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Getty
Ethiopian Airlines has a fleet of over 125 aircraft and is one of the largest carriers in Africa. Photo: Getty Images

An existing national carrier

DRC’s flag carrier, Congo Airways, is currently the core public airline of the country. With its hub at Kinshasa’s N’djili Airport, the airline commenced operations just six years ago and serves several domestic destinations. The operator also flies to Johannesburg, South Africa and Douala, Cameroon.

Congo Airways holds two Airbus A320s, two Dash 8s, and a pair of ERJ-190s. Just last month, the company entered into an aircraft leasing agreement with Kenya Airways that saw the Congolese airline begin wet leasing the two E190s. The airline is also expecting the arrival of four E2 aircraft.

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Opening up opportunities

With the formation of Congo Air, it will be interesting to see how operations will be split between the pair of state carriers. Moreover, will there even be space for both? Nonetheless, the introduction of Congo Air is set to help the country’s presence on a global scale.

Germany - Hesse - Frankfurt am Main: airplane Boeing B767 of the Ethiopian Airlines
With a plethora of planes in its fleet, perhaps Ethiopian’s aircraft supply will help the DRC’s aviation scene expand on international travel opportunities. Photo: Getty Images

Notably, the DRC is applying to join the East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental organization of nations in Eastern Africa. By gaining ground with influential institutions across the continent, the country may benefit from more robust connections. All eyes are on Africa’s aviation industry in this next chapter, with plenty of growth prospects across the board.

What are your thoughts about the launch of Congo Air? What do you make of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s plans for its aviation industry? Let us know what you think of the potential of the country’s aviation scene in the comment section.

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