New Congo airline destroys old planes to reassure passengers


Last year one of Hewa Bora’s Boeing 727s crashed at Kisangani airport as it attempted to land in heavy rain, killing 74 people.



A new Congolese airline is to destroy six dysfunctional planes in a bid to restore confidence in the country’s aviation industry.

Jean-Marc Pajot, the chief executive of Fly Congo, told the Associated Press that five Boeing-727s and one other type of aircraft would be destroyed to reassure potential passengers that flying with the new private airline would be safe.

Fly Congo has been formed from Hewa Bora Airways, which was blacklisted by the European Union and had its licence revoked following a crash last July that killed 74 people.

Hewa Bora ran flights from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, to the central city of Kisangani and other destinations.

Pajot told the BBC: “We have a fleet of aircraft that has not flown for quite a long time. So the first decision for the six aircraft I am talking about is that we decided to destroy that fleet completely.”

He said the planes would be destroyed and recycled from next month, and that Fly Congo would have a “well maintained” fleet of modern aircraft to transport passengers.

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Last year’s Hewa Bora accident occurred when one the airline’s Boeing 727s crashed at Kisangani airport as it attempted to land in heavy rain, according to the Agence France Presse.

It was the second fatal accident involving the airline in three years. In 2008 more than 40 people were killed when a DC-9 crashed into a suburb of the eastern Congolese town of Goma immediately after take-off.

Pajot told the Associated Press that Fly Congo had started paying compensation to the families of the victims of the 2011 crash, each of whom will receive $87,500. 

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