(eTN) – A Goma-based aviation source in periodic contact with this correspondent has told the story of Congo’s Civil Aviation Authority, in a flurry of apparently renewed activity, grounding some 29 planes of airlines registered in Kinshasa. According to the same source, the aircraft belong to about 20 airlines, and their Certificates of Airworthiness were all withdrawn over a range of documentary discrepancies and disputes between the CAA and the respective operators.
Said the source in an email only just accessed after being off “air” for nearly 30 hours due to WiFi failure on location at Mombasa’s south coast: “They licensed a new airline the other day, and now they are grounding 4 of their planes. I don’t know what happened, but should this not have been raised during the licensing process or before they get an ASL or AOC? That is a bit strange. But for other airlines, if documents these days are not certified and show the complete history of the aircraft, then there is a problem.
“ICAO must have told them at the Kampala aviation safety week conference where we met, and on other occasions ,that they need to enforce ICAO rules and regulations or risk being downgraded or even blacklisted as a country. The safety record of Congo [is] so bad, it is the only way to move the industry to safer operations. But those airlines affected will now have to either comply or otherwise their planes might never fly again.”
AAC in Kinshasa subsequently issued a statement advising the operators and the public that reforms are taking place in Congo DR’s aviation sector to improve safety for passengers, with the ultimate aim to have the country’s airlines wishing to fly to Europe, come off the notorious EU black list for airlines; in the case of Congo DR, literally all of them, with the notable exception of Korongo Airlines based in Lubumbashi, which is majority-owned, managed, and maintained by Brussels Airlines and presently flies to Kinshasa and Johannesburg.