|Operating bases||Lubumbashi International Airport|
|Fleet size||1 (+2)|
|Company slogan||Vivez. Voyagez. Souriez.|
|Headquarters||Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Key people||George Arthur Forrest (chairman)|
Korongo Airlines sprl (after the Swahili term for large migrating birds) is an airline from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, headquartered in Lubumbashi. It was founded on behalf of Brussels Airlines and other Belgian investors and operates scheduled regional flights out of its base at Lubumbashi International Airport
The effort of Brussels Airlines to set up a regional airline in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (which, being the former Belgian Congo, has strong business and political ties with Belgium), date back to 2007. In that year, airDC was founded as a joint venture with Hewa Bora Airways, and the launch of commercial regional flights out of Kinshasa-N'djili Airport using a fleet of BAe 146-200s handed over from Brussels Airlines was planned for early 2008. Concerns about the success of the project were voiced in 2008, when the disaster of Hewa Bora Airways Flight 122 revealed serious aviation safety flaws in the DR Congo. As a consequence, Hewa Bora was banned from operating within the European Union (any air carriers from the DR Congo had already been included in the EU blacklist since 2006 due to a lack or regulatory oversight in the country, but there had been an exception for Hewa Bora's Brussels service). Indeed, the airDC project was postponed indefinitely and eventually abandoned.
Founding of Korongo Airlines
A new attempt by Brussels Airlines to install a regional feeder service for its Brussels-Kinshasa flights was launched in 2009. In December of that year, Korongo Airlines was founded, with 70 percent of its shares being owned by Airbel, a Belgian holding company, which in turn is owned by Brussels Airlines (49.5 percent) and Forrest Group (50.5 percent). The remaining 30 percent in Korongo Airlines are owned by local Congolese investors. George Arthur Forrest, Belgian entrepreneur and owner of Forrest Groups, serves as the airline's chairman.
In contrast to airDC, Korongo is headquartered in Lubumbashi and uses Lubumbashi International Airport as its base. The launch of revenue flights was originally planned for the second quarter of 2010, but had to be postponed to the second quarter of 2011 and yet again to early 2012. This was due to the project having been met with severe resistance from the local Congolese authorities, which led to a delayed approval process. On 20 April 2011, Korongo Airlines was put on the EU airline blacklist (as any other air carrier with maintenance work done in the DR Congo).
Launch of flight operations
Finally, on 12 January 2012, Korongo Airlines was issued its airline licence. On 23 February, it was given approval for commercial revenue flights, which were launched on 16 April of that year on the Lubumbashi-Kinshasa route, with further domestic destinations as well scheduled flights to Johannesburg being commenced over the following months.
- Kinshasa - N'djili Airport
- Lubumbashi - Lubumbashi International Airport (base)
- Mbuji_Mayi - Mbuji_Mayi_Airport
|Boeing 737-300||1||2||12||114||126||retrofitted with Blended Winglet|
- Information about Korongo Airlines at the Aero Transport Data Bank
- AFX News: Brussels Airlines and Hewa Bora Airways create new Congolese airline. Published on 31 October 2007.
- Flightglobal: Hewa Bora ban fails to derail Brussels Airlines' AirDC plans. Published online on 24 April 2008.
- Reuters: Forrest, Brussels Airlines secure Congo licence. Published online on 24 February 2012
- Brussels Airlines sets up Korongo. Published on 16 December 2009 by flandersnews.be
- The African Aviation Tribune: Korongo to expand network to Mbuji-Mayi, Kolwezi, Goma, Kisangani with more regional routes to follow. Published online on 30 August 2012.
- "List of airlines banned in the European Union". Ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
- Africa Travel Association: Korongo Airlines to begin flights on 16 April 2012.
- Engineering News: Korongo Airlines Takes To The Skies In April 2012. Published on 7 March 2012.
- Korongo Airlines: timetable and route map
- Korongo Airlines fleet list at planespotters.net
- Interview of Christophe Allard, CEO, in L'observateur - Published online on 20 May 2013.
- "Korongo to get a second 737 and a 50 seater turboprop - Allard". ch-aviation.
- "Fleet info". Korongo Airlines.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Korongo Airlines.|
- (English) (French) Official website