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Airlines

Name: KORONGO AIRLINES
7JetSet7 Code: KGO
Status: Currently Not Operational
Region: AFRICA
City: LUBUMBASHI
Country: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Employees 47
Web: flykorongo.com
Email: info@flykorongo.com
Telephone:
Fax:
Sita:
Background
(definitions)

Click below for data links:
KGO-Logo.jpg

Formed in 2010 and started operations in 2012. Domestic, regional and international, schedule & charter, passenger & cargo jet airplane services.

Address:
Lubumbashi Luano International Airport
Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo) was established in 1960, it covers an area of 2,345,409 sq km, its capital city is Kinshasa, and its official language is French.

February 2012: Lubumbashi-based, Korongo Airlines (KGO), partly owned by Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBN) parent, SN Airholding, is expected to begin operations in April, several years after its projected launch.

(KGO) is a joint venture (JV) between SN Airholding and Groupe George Forrest International (GFI). The Belgian-registered holding controls 70% of the Democratic Republic of Congo-registered carrier; local investors own the remaining 30%.

(KGO) Chairman, George Arthur Forrest said the carrier had received all necessary licenses and certificates from the Congolese authorities “allowing the effective start of the airline.” It has approval to import two Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) BAe 146-200s and one 737-300, and to launch domestic and international operations.

The airplanes will remain under Belgian registry and will be wet-leased from (DAT)/(EBA) under a wet-lease (ACMI) agreement. All three airplanes have been painted in the Korongo Airlines (KGO) livery.

In the first phase, (KGO) will operate scheduled 737 services between Lubumbashi airport (FBM) and Kinshasa airport (FIH) as well as between (FB)M and Johannesburg. The (FBM) - (FIH) service will eventually connect to (DAT)/(EBA)’s services from Brussels to (FIH). B Ae 146 service from FBM to Mbuji-Maji and Kolwezi will be added in the second phase.

Korongo Airlines (KGO) was expected to launch last year but the Congolese government refused to issue permission for the venture, leading to fears that the $11 million project would have to be abandoned.

Air travel in the vast Central African nation has been crippled by airlines having their licenses removed after a series of accidents.

(KGO) is 70% owned by Airbel, in which Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) holds a 51% stake. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is 45% owned by Germany's Lufthansa (DLH).

(IATA) Code: ZC. (ICAO) Code: KGO.

George Forrest International, run by veteran Congo investor George Forrest, holds the other 49% of Airbel. The other 30% of Korongo Airlines (KGO) is held by Congolese investors.

Henry de Harenne, a spokesman for Forrest, said that "administrative difficulties" were behind the delay in launching the company, which aims to start flying between Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Johannesburg in April.

"The elections and their organization might also have had an influence on that delay. In January, (we got) all the licenses and authorizations we were waiting for, so we now have everything we need to start operating," de Harenne added.

Joseph Kabila was re-elected as the country's Prime Minister in a November poll that was widely criticized as fraudulent by the international community and rejected by the opposition. Forrest has been operating in the Congo since 1922, playing a large role in mining and construction. But he has recently had a troubled relationship with the Kabila government.

Another George Forrest company, (EGMF), is locked in a bitter dispute at the court of arbitration in Paris with Congo's state mining company Gecamines over ownership of (CMSK), a copper and cobalt asset in Katanga.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has some of the world's largest copper deposits and is attracting increasing numbers of investors to its mining sector despite the difficult business climate.

March 2012: Korongo Airlines (KGO) has announced April 16 as its launch date for scheduled services from its Lubumbashi Luano International Airport (FBM) base. The Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) subsidiary will initially serve Kinshasa N'Djili International airport (FIH) eight times weekly and Johannesburg Oliver Reginald Tambo International airport (JNB) twice weekly, and plans to add Kolwezi airport (KWZ) and Mbuji Mayi airport (MJM) next. Three of the eight weekly Lubumbashi - Kinshasa services will operate as international flights where passengers clear immigration and customs in Lubumbashi and then connect directly from/to Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) flights in Kinshasa.

August 2012: B Ae 146-200 (E2196, OO-DJJ), Brussels Airline (DAT)/(EBA) wet-leased, ex-(3B-PAF) delivery.

November 2012: Korongo Airlines (KGO), the Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)-backed Congolese airline launched earlier this year, added a new domestic destination in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 31 October. Twice a week, (KGO)’s flights between Lubumbashi (FBM) and Kinshasa (FIH) now stop en-route in Mbuji-Mayi (MJM), creating two domestic routes to the country’s third-largest city that is a diamond mining center. Flights are operated with 737-300 airplanes.

February 2013: Korongo Airlines ((IATA) Code: ZC, based at Lubumbashi Luano International (FBM)) has retired its only Bae 146-200 (E2196, OO-DJJ) and has returned the airplanes to parent Brussels Airlines (SN, Brussels National Zaventem (BRU)) that will not operate the airplane in Europe anymore. Korongo will continue its operations in the DR Congo with its single 737-300 (25070, OO-LTM) also wet-leased from Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA). It currently operates from Lubumbashi Luano International (FBM) to Johannesburg Oliver Reginald Tambo International (JNB), Kinshasa N'Djili International (FIH) and Mbuji Mayi (MJM).

December 2013: Korongo Airlines (KGO) will wet-lease a 737-300QC (24387, ZS-ASL) from South African (ACMI) specialists, Safair ((IATA) Code: FA, based at Johannesburg O R Tambo) (SFA), from January 13 to February 9, 2014. The lease will presumably cover the absence of the Congolese carrier's own 737-300, (25070, OO-LTM), which is due in for heavy maintenance.

May 2015: Korongo Airlines (KGO) is looking for new investors to help revitalize the carrier. Founded in 2012, (KGO) is a joint venture (JV) between Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), parent SN Airholding (40%), Groupe George Forrest International (GFI) (36%), with the remaining 24% held by local Congolese businessmen.

Belgium's "De Redactie" newspaper reports a share capital increase will help the Lubumbashi-based carrier to raise funding to expand and consolidate its operations ahead of the entry of state-backed national airline, Congo Airways (Kinshasa N'Djili) (CQC) and other recent entrants into the scheduled-operators sector such as BlueSky Airlines (Congo Kinshasa) (Kinshasa N'Djili).

The report says that among the entities that has expressed a keen interest in becoming a shareholder is Ethiopian Airlines (ETH), which has long sought to use Congo to act as its Central African feeder hub.

Though (KGO) had originally operated two B Ae 146-200s and a 737-300 wet-leased from Brussels Airlines (EBA)/(DAT), the former have since been withdrawn, leaving the carrier with a single airplane (25070, OO-LTM). Past plans to boost its fleet and network have reportedly been deferred time and time again after SN Airholding refused to inject any further funds, citing (KGO)'s poor financial performance.

As such, it currently serves Kinshasa N'Djili and Mbuji Mayi locally, as well as Johannesburg O R Tambo regionally.

Korongo Airlines (KGO) currently operates 1 airplane, in 2 countries and serves 4 destinations, 4 routes and 4 daily flights.

August 2015: Lubumbashi-based Korongo Airlines (KGO) has temporarily suspended operations until September 4, following a runway incident at Bipemba Airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Boeing 737-300 (on wet lease from Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)) was damaged by “loose tarmac slabs on the runway” at Bipemba Airport on August 19, (KGO) said. The airport is located in Mbuji-Mayi, the third-largest city in the (DRC).

“Following preliminary reports from our Maintenance & Engineering team, we are forced to extend the cancelation of our flights until September 4, 2015, inclusive,” (KGO) said.

Korongo Airlines (KGO) added that its usual replacement airplane, sourced from a South African partner, is not currently available. It is offering refunds or rebookings and is hoping to confirm its flight schedule soon. “Furthermore, we are continuing our efforts with the Congolese aeronautical authorities to take urgent measures to rehabilitate the runway at Bipemba Airport, Mbuji-Mayi in order to avoid any repetition of such incident in strict compliance with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),” (KGO) said.

Korongo Airlines (KGO) launched operations in 2012 as a domestic and regional carrier for the (DRC), in partnership with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA).

September 2015: News Item A-1: Korongo Airlines ((IATA) Code: ZC, based at Lubumbashi) (KGO) is to cease operations citing prolonged difficulties in gaining traction. The announcement follows an (AGM) on Friday, September 4 during which shareholders and management collectively decided to discontinue flight operations and to begin the dissolution of the company.

(KGO) has been grounded since late last month following an incident at Mbuji Mayi which put its only operational aircraft, 737-300 (25070, OO-LTM) out of revenue service.

A joint-venture (JV) between Brussels Airlines ((IATA) Code: SN, based at Brussels National) parent (SN) Airholding (40%), Groupe George Forrest International (GFI) (36%), with the remaining 24% held by local Congolese businessmen, Korongo (KGO) began offering scheduled flights throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2012. Using Belgian registered and maintained airplanes, (KGO) positioned itself as a domestic and regional operator plying BAe 146-200s initially before introducing the 737-300.

However, despite strong load factors and contracts from several notable firms, (KGO) said it has not been able to expand to the proportions required to make it a viable long term operation. ". . . the company has unfortunately not been able to reach profitability due to a lack of critical mass, operations based on a fleet of only one airplane, which doesn’t offer sufficient possibilities to amortize the fixed costs of an airline operation respecting all international safety standards," it said.

According to local Belgian media reports, with SN Airholding reportedly unwilling to pump any further funds into the struggling airline, attention was then turned to prospective new investors (with Ethiopian Airlines ((IATA) Code: ET, based at Addis Ababa) (ETH) reportedly a keen contender). However, those talks have now collapsed following the advent of Congo Airways (Kinshasa N'Djili) (CQC) (the (DRC) government's new national carrier).

In the interim, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) says it remains open to putting its operational expertise at the disposal of the Congolese government for for the currently stalled Congo Airways (CQC) project.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) stressed the continued importance of its Congo operations. It remains willing to assist local authorities with the Congo Airways (CQC) project and “continue the discussions that started before the summer.”

Korongo Airlines has been grounded since August 19, when its sole airplane (a Boeing 737-300 on wet lease from Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)) was damaged by loose tarmac on the runway at Bipemba Airport. The Lubumbashi-based airline had planned to resume operations September 4, but instead the company decided to cease operations.

News Item A-2: Korongo Airlines ((IATA) Code: ZC, based at Lubumbashi) (KGO) is to cease operations citing prolonged difficulties in gaining traction. The announcement follows an (AGM) on Friday, September 4 during which shareholders and management collectively decided to discontinue flight operations and to begin the dissolution of the company.

(KGO) has been grounded since late last month following an incident at Mbuji Mayi which put its only operational aircraft, 737-300 (25070, OO-LTM) out of revenue service.

A joint-venture (JV) between Brussels Airlines ((IATA) Code: SN, based at Brussels National) parent (SN) Airholding (40%), Groupe George Forrest International (GFI) (36%), with the remaining 24% held by local Congolese businessmen, Korongo (KGO) began offering scheduled flights throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2012. Using Belgian registered and maintained airplanes, (KGO) positioned itself as a domestic and regional operator plying BAe 146-200s initially before introducing the 737-300.

However, despite strong load factors and contracts from several notable firms, (KGO) said it has not been able to expand to the proportions required to make it a viable long term operation. ". . . the company has unfortunately not been able to reach profitability due to a lack of critical mass, operations based on a fleet of only one airplane, which doesn’t offer sufficient possibilities to amortize the fixed costs of an airline operation respecting all international safety standards," it said.

According to local Belgian media reports, with SN Airholding reportedly unwilling to pump any further funds into the struggling airline, attention was then turned to prospective new investors (with Ethiopian Airlines ((IATA) Code: ET, based at Addis Ababa) (ETH) reportedly a keen contender). However, those talks have now collapsed following the advent of Congo Airways (Kinshasa N'Djili) (CQC) (the (DRC) government's new national carrier).

In the interim, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) says it remains open to putting its operational expertise at the disposal of the Congolese government for the currently stalled Congo Airways (CQC) project.



NOTE: Korongo Airlines (KGO) is listed on the latest (EU) blacklist released 03.04.2012 of airlines whose operations are subject to a ban within the (EU)*. *Airlines listed in Annex A could be permitted to exercise traffic rights by using wet-leased airplanes of an air carrier which is not subject to an operating ban, provided that the relevant safety standards are complied with.

Fleet:
(definitions)

Click below for photos:
KGO-737-300 - 2013-12
KGO-737-300 - 2015-05.jpg
KGO-737-300 - 2015-08.jpg

October 2015:

1 737-300 (CFM56-3C) (25070, OO-LTM), (DAT)/(EBA) WET-LSD 2012-02.

0 737-300QC (CFM56-3C) (24387, ZS-ASL), (SFA) LSD 2014-01. RTND.

0 B AE 146-200 (E2196, OO-DJJ), (DAT)/(EBA) WET-LSD. EX-(3B-PAF) 2012-08. RTND TO PARENT, BRUSSELS AIRLINES (DAT)/(EBA).

Management:
(definitions)

GEORGE ARTHUR FOREST, CHAIRMAN.

 
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