Monday, September 23, 2013

■ BURUNDI: Air Burundi to require nearly USD4million to resume operations.

Air Burundi logoAir Burundi's (8Y) Group Managing Director, Emmanuel Habimana, says a return to service will prove costly both for the airline and its backer, the Burundian government, given the highly competitive nature of the market in the region. Overall initial startup costs are expected to total BIF6billion (USD3.9million).

Air Burundi Beech 1900C 9U-BHG
Among its costs, Mr Habimana says the airline will require USD1.3million to overhaul and return its Beechcraft 1900C (MSN ? | 9U-BHG) into active service in support of the airline's sole MA60 (MCN 1019 | 9U-BHU).

An inability to secure adequate funding to overhaul the aircraft in 2009 led to the airline's suspension of operations which, despite the arrival of the MA60, it has yet to resume.

On the issue of the a second MA60 due at the airline as part of a "Buy-One/Get-One Free" deal with China, the MD said in an interview with IWACU that the actual contract regarding the purchase of the aircraft (9U-BHU is recorded as having been a "donation" from China to Burundi) had yet to be finalized with no exact delivery date having thus far been agreed to.

Despite having been in Bujumbura for over a year, the turboprop has yet to operate any actual revenue flights with Air Zimbabwe (UM) having thus far hired out crews and dispatchers to Bujumbura while locals are trained to both handle and operate the type.