Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) and Congo Airways (8Z, Kinshasa N'Djili) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for strategic cooperation that will see the two national carriers team up in areas of capacity sharing, aircraft maintenance, and training.

Included in the two-year agreement is a route and code-sharing provision aimed at expanding the carriers’ domestic, African, and international networks.

The strategic partnership was announced in a statement by the Kenyan government following the signing of the MoU in Kinshasa on April 22, 2021, on the last day of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day state visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kenyatta and his Congolese host, President Felix Tshisekedi, witnessed the signing by Kenya Airways Group chief executive Allan Kilavuka and his Congo Airways counterpart Désiré Balazire Bantu.

“The cooperation between Kenya Airways and Congo Airways will cover technical capacity building, commercial cooperation, and human resource training. Part of this will cover cost-effective aircraft maintenance and technical expertise, particularly on the Embraer E-Jet fleet training in engineering, flight deck and crew, route codeshare opportunities, and other synergies,” Kilavuka said. Kenya Airways operates a fleet of fifteen ERJ 190-100ARs, of which it owns nine, while six are leased from Nordic Aviation Capital.

Congo Airways has four E-190s on order: two E190-E2s and two E195-E2s. “Both teams will be working in the coming days in order to be able to sign specific contracts," Balazire commented to ch-aviation. "The first E190-E2 is expected to be delivered in December 2021 and the second in May 2022. For the E195-E2s, both will be delivered in 2022 (one in November and the last in December)," he said.

As a sign of strengthening bilateral ties, the countries, during the state visit, signed four framework cooperation agreements covering several economic sectors, security, defence, tourism, and maritime transport. Kenyatta called for the harmonisation of visa regimes between Kenya and the DRC to ease the movement of people, goods, and services in the region.