DRC launches new national airline

Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has created a new national airline as part of a push to clean up its poor air safety record, a government source said on Friday.

Shareholders, including the Congolese state and several state companies, hope to launch Congo Airways by the end of the year, the official from the Ministry of Transport told AFP.

The Congolese government also signed an agreement on Friday with Air France Consulting to develop a business plan for the carrier, he added.

Kinshasa announced in September that it aimed to launch a new national airline to replace Lignes Aeriennes Congolaises (LAC), which went bankrupt in 2003.

DR Congo has an unenviable aviation record, with more than 50 of its airlines on an EU blacklist that bans them from flying over Europe.

The government hopes the new airline will help to turn around that reputation and the country's aviation industry.

Last year five people were killed in a plane crash near the main eastern city of Goma and about 74 died two years earlier in an accident at the airport in the central city of Kisangani.