The Government of Burundi has unveiled plans to launch a new national carrier in 2021 under the brand name Burundi Airlines (Bujumbura).

A cabinet statement issued on December 24 said the new airline would be based on a merger between quasi-defunct predecessor Air Burundi (PBU, Bujumbura) and state-owned ground-handler (Société Burundaise de Gestion des Entrepôts et d’Assistance des Avions en Escale - SOBUGEA), as endorsed by a study carried out by BCAP International-Prosafe Aviation Consulting.

In terms of ownership, the state will control 92% of Burundi Airlines while local insurer (Société d'Assurances du Burundi - SOCABU) will have a 4% stake. The estate of defunct Belgian carrier Sabena (SN, Brussels National) will also own a 4% stake.

In the interim, a team has been established to investigate the implications, especially in terms of liabilities, a merger between Air Burundi and SOBUGEA will have for the government.

Air Burundi ceased flight operations in 2007 when its sole active aircraft, a Beech 1900C, was withdrawn from service pending maintenance checks. And although China donated an MA-60 in 2013, delays in its type certification prevented the aircraft from ever being deployed into commercial service.