Congo Airways seeks recovery with leased 737 and E190 jets

State-owned carrier suspended operations for two months in 2023 amid the financial crisis, but the government stated that it is injecting funds into the company to relaunch it

Founded in 2014 to be the flag carrier of its country, Congo Airways has had a turbulent career in its 10 years of activity.

The airline suspended its flights in the second half of last year after finding that its aircraft were unable to operate safely.

At the time, Congo Airways had two Airbus A320s transferred by Alitalia in 2017 in addition to two other Dash 8 turboprops, already decommissioned.

It was the culmination of a series of comings and goings by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which controls the airline.

Congo Airways A320
Congo Airways A320
Congo Airways Airbus A320 (Eric Johnston)

In 2019, Congo Airways announced an order for two E175s with the option of another two Embraer jets, in an effort to modernize its fleet.

The following year, however, the carrier changed its mind and replaced the models with the same number of larger and more modern E190-E2s.

At the beginning of 2021, it was time to exercise the purchase option with two E195-E2s, the largest jet in the family.

Congo Airways modernization plans fail

The situation, however, changed completely in 2022. In the midst of a financial crisis, Congo Airways was discarded by the government, which intended to launch another airline, Air Congo.

The agreement with Embraer ended up discreetly broken in July of that year after an aircraft was being prepared for delivery.

In November last year, Congo Airways resumed its flights with two Boeing 737-800s leased from Klasjet on a wet-lease basis.

Klasjet Boeing 737-800 (Klasjet)

Last week, Transport and Communications Minister Marc Ekila announced that Congo Airways’ “rebirth” plans are underway and four new jets are expected to join the fleet, a third Boeing 737-800 and three Embraer E190s.

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Congolese government spokesman Patrick Muyaya went further and revealed that Congo Airways may receive a Boeing 777-200ER for long-haul flights soon.


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