Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) has announced plans to start 3x weekly scheduled passenger flights to Kisangani and Mbuji Mayi this March thus signalling the Congolese cities' first international flights.

Although the carrier has yet to fix firm dates for the launch of either service, the decision to start flights to Mbuji Mayi comes after authorities there completed critical runway patching works in December. As with many other aerodromes around the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Bipemba airport's 2,000 meter-long primary runway 17/35 had become riddled with gaping holes and craters presenting serious challenges to commercial operators.

For its part, Kisangani's last scheduled international service - to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta via Kenya Airways - operated between 2009 and 2010 when poor load factors forced its discontinuation.

Ethiopian Airlines already serves the Congolese capital, Kinshasa N'Djili, as well as Goma, near the border with Rwanda, and Lubumbashi near the southern boundary with Zambia.