Thursday, February 7, 2013

■ CONGO (KINSHASA): Belgium, Congo ink new BASA with Jetairfly now wanting in on the action.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo and its former colonial power, Belgium, on Saturday 2 February signed a revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) replacing that which was signed in 1965, five years after the DRC's independence. New provisions include increased frequencies to the DRC for Belgian carriers while Belgium, in return, will aide the DRC in its quest to improve its international safety image.

Lignes Aériennes Congolaises
Lignes Aériennes Congolaises
The agreement, ratified by the Belgian Secretary of State, Melchoir Wathelet, and the Congolese Minister of Transport and Communication, Justin Kalumba, commits Belgium to help remove Congolese carriers from the European Union's No Fly Ban List, of which all Congolese registered airlines are a part. In return, there is provision for Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines (SN) to serve Kinshasa 7x a week, though this has yet to be decided as Belgian LCC, Jetairfly (TB), has also asked for traffic rights to Kinshasa.

The Belgian Secretary of State said that the DRC should now count on Belgium "who will be its spokesman" in its dealings with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Union.
"We want to work together to put Congo on the world map in terms of air transport, I think that's everyone's goal," said Melchoir Wathelet, ensuring that the signing of this agreement is a step towards achieve this goal.

"We will go further to ensure that the Congo finds the place it deserves and its rightful place on the world aviation stage," he said.
Source [RadioOkapi]

The previous agreement allowed for only 5x weekly flights with SN leasing two additional frequencies from Congo's Lignes Aériennes Congolaises (4V), who because of the EU Ban, were/are unable to utilize their slots.