MIAMI – Yesterday, Congo Airways (8Z) placed a firm order for two E195-E2 jets from Embraer. The new order is an addition to the two E190-E2 jets already ordered by the airline.
The E195-E2s will be configured in a 120 seat layout, with 12 business class seats and 108 in economy class. The smaller E190-E2s the airline ordered will have a 96 seat layout.
The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2022, leaving time for the aviation industry to recover from the ongoing dip in travel demand due to COVID-19 before entering service. So far, 8Z appears to be planning to launch operations to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Abidjan.
Recently, a high number of up and coming airlines in Africa have made strides to grow their fleets with next generation aircraft. This includes Uganda Airlines (UR), which recently took delivery of their first Airbus A330-800 in December of last year. In addition, Air Tanzania (TC) became the first airline in Africa to operate the Airbus A220-300. This was followed by Egyptair (MS), who took delivery of its first Airbus A220 in September of 2019.
In the coming years, Africa will continue to grow in the aviation market, as governments organize their airlines and launch infrastructure projects to increase tourism and business opportunities in the region.
Congo Airways, the state owned airline of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, began operations in 2015 with two Airbus A320s from Alitalia (AZ). In 2015, one of the Airbus A320s, 9S-AKD, was temporarily impounded at Dublin International Airport (DUB) by US creditors over disputes regarding the Congolese government.
In addition to the Airbus A320s, the airline operates two Bombardier DHC-8 Dash 8s. The Dash 8s were both originally delivered to Air Niugini in 2010.
Cesar Pereira, Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Embraer said, “Africa has for too long been thought of as a market of mostly low frequencies and long thin routes.
He continued, “As airlines start ramp up their operations, the E2 family of aircraft is perfectly positioned to right size routes previously operated by narrowbodies, while keeping frequencies and adjusting capacity to new levels.”
On his part, Desire Bantu, the Chief Executive Officer at 8Z, said, “We see an opportunity in our market and the crisis we are all facing for Congo Airways to emerge stronger – which is why we are not waiting to place this further order.
He further commented, “These new jets will allow us to extend our passenger and cargo operations regionally to high demand destinations such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Abidjan. As we prepare for future success, we will have the flexibility, and the right sized, most efficient aircraft, to serve our customers as the market returns.”
Featured Photo: Embraer