KINSHASA (The Southern African Times) – 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.
A strong partner
A partnership with Ethiopian Airlines is central to this new business. The national carrier of Ethiopia will hold 49% of thecompany’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.
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.
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.
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.