The Democratic Republic of Congo is embarking on a significant aviation venture with the establishment of its second national airline, Air Congo. This initiative comes on the heels of Congo Airways’ recent suspension of flights due to financial difficulties, raising questions about the coexistence of the two airlines.
Congo Airways, the nation’s inaugural national carrier, took flight eight years ago with ambitious plans to serve destinations across Africa. However, it encountered turbulence along the way, culminating in the suspension of operations in September, with issues such as an ill-suited business model, lack of transparency in administration, and inappropriate pricing structures cited as contributing factors.
Nonetheless, President Félix Tshisekedi’s government remained resolute in its commitment to bolstering the country’s aviation capabilities. In mid-September, a decision was made to establish a second national airline, Air Congo—a concept under consideration for two years. This endeavour carries a prestigious partner, Ethiopian Airlines Group, a well-established player in African aviation. Ethiopian Airlines Group will provide financial support and invaluable expertise to ensure the success of Air Congo.
The government has set an ambitious timeline, aiming to prepare Air Congo to apply for its air operator’s certificate (AOC) within five months. Importantly, the government has emphasized that the establishment of Air Congo should not come at the expense of Congo Airways.
However, the precise details of how these two airlines will coexist and differentiate themselves in the market remain undisclosed. Two years ago, Air Congo envisioned a fleet of seven aircraft, signaling its ambition for a strong presence in the sky.