Korongo Airlines (ZC, Lubumbashi) has suspended flights until August 26 at the earliest following an incident involving its sole aircraft - B737-300 OO-LTM (msn 25070) on lease from partner Brussels Airlines (SN, Brussels National).

The Congolese carrier said in a statement that the aircraft's horizontal stabilizer sustained serious damage on take off from Mbuji Mayi on August 21. The jet was subsequently grounded to allow for repairs during which time all flights have now been cancelled.

Korongo blamed the incident on loose bits of runway tarmac and warned that unless steps were taken to rectify the situation, it may boycott the airfield in future.

"We have taken the relevant authorities to task about the non-compliance of Mbuji Mayi's runway," the carrier said. "Since this incident, which has affected our aircraft, could be repeated, it thus constitutes a serious risk to all operators who use the airport."