28 August 2011

Burundi: Air Burundi to Restructure

Bujumbura — Air Burundi is to undergo a restructuring which could produce one of three results; privatisation, restoration of the airline as a national carrier or a revamping of the current bilateral cooperation to upgrade the current operations.

In a press conference a fortnight ago, the Air Burundi managing director, Mr. Melchior NAHIMANA, said the company had completed negotiations with Turkey on Bilateral Service Agreements (BSA) which could see the Turkish airlines fly to Burundi. In an exclusive interview, Melchior said there is also a partnership agreement with Air Uganda to possibly commence operations in October with a direct flight from Entebbe to Bujumbura.

The managing director revealed to East African Business Week that there is an on-going operation to restructure the airline and that bids had already been responded to and six companies pre-selected to propose a restructuring process.

Funds have already been secured by government of Burundi to finance this project. From the group of one US Company, three Europe based companies and two companies that have both European and African shareholding; one will be selected to propose a restructuring plan.

East African Business Week was not able to establish the cost of the entire project by press time.

Melchior also said the Airline had been in the exploratory phase for a possible revamping of the airline through the acquisition or leasing of aircraft possibly through partnerships or outright purchase of two aircraft to increase on the number of aircraft to help resume operations which ended in September 2009 when the single aircraft in operation, a Raytheon Beech 1900C Airliner had consumed it's flight time of 12,000 hours and had to be grounded to allow regular maintenance operations, worth at least $1m.

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