MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the new flag carrier of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Congo Airways (8Z) commenced operations in 2015.
The airline was created in 2014 after the countries government decided to re-establish a national airline. This followed the collapse of Lignes Aériennes Congolaises (LAC) – Congolese Airlines (4V) in 2013. Ownership of the company is divided between the countries government, local and foreign investors, and the airline’s employees.
Operations began with a pair of Airbus A320ceos, sourced from Alitalia (AZ). Eight domestic destinations were initially served from its base at Kinshasa N’djili Airport (FIH). The airline also operates in Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa, and Douala (DLA), Cameroon.
In December 2019 a US$194.4m order was placed with Embraer for two E175s with options on a further two. 8Z planned for these aircraft to eventually replace its pair of de Havilland Canada DHC-8-Q400s and allow for future expansion.
However, in June 2020, it was announced that the order would be swapped for two brand new E190-E2s. The move it was said, would allow the airline to expand on to routes previously served by struggling competitor South African Airways (SA). The aircraft, due for delivery in May 2022, will be fitted with 96 seats, including 12 in business class.
In an unusual move, the DRC Transport Ministry recently announced that a new airline would be launched in the country known as Air Congo. The ministry has stated that the new company “will be born in the coming days.” Ethiopian Airlines (ET) will control 49% of shares and provide the new start-up with seven aircraft.
Featured image: The airline has also exercised options on two 120-seat E195-E2s with deliveries planned for 2022. Photo: Embraer