A new airline was launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday in a bid to revolutionise air transport within the country.
Two Airbus A320 jets belonging to Congo Airways left the capital Kinshasa’s Ndjili international airport on the inaugural flights carrying invited guests, after an official launch ceremony attended by President Joseph Kabila.
“The launch of Congo Airways is the symbol of the economic and financial independence of the DRC,” Transport Minister Justin Kalumba said in a speech. “It is a recognition of the break from a dark past to an illustrious future for air transport.”
Air transport infrastructure is also being overhauled in the country.
Congo Airways will initially fly to eight towns and cities, and this will be expanded to 14 after three years.
The two Airbus planes – which now bear the airline’s colours of red, yellow, blue and white and a flying leopard on the tail fin were bought cost about $50 million.
The launch follows the desire of DRC authorities to develop the country and to gradually open up some regions that are inaccessible by road.