It is heartening to note that the Airline industry in East Africa is seeing a steady resurgence, with Air Tanzania seeing resumption of flights and Air Burundi re-structuring.
Officials say, the restructuring process of Air Burundi will be carried out on the advice of a consulting firm which might well recommend privatization as a way to revamp the operations of the airline. Privatization and other alliances are trends in the airline industry that have seen the emergence of prosperous airlines like Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.
If it is recommended that Air Burundi should be privatized and that the process should be carried out carefully so that the country gets the full benefits of this privatization.
These benefits can include a rise in revenue, improvement in corporate governance of the airline and an increase in the competitiveness and visibility of the country in the region.
Having said this, it is a well known fact that the sale of a major state owned asset, like Air Burundi is, could be a highly charged political event and this ought to be managed very studiously to avoid the stalls that have bedeviled the privatization of many airlines and other companies on the continent.
Being a landlocked country, it is in Burundi's best interests to have a vibrant transport network. With very little to show for in terms of natural resources, it is also important for Burundi to harness what advantages she has.
This can be best done by promoting a vibrant tourism industry which could be highly advanced by an effective airline. Burundi is also sandwiched between Rwanda, Tanzania and minera; rich DR.Congo. She would be a gateway for investors wanting to tap into the vast and untapped resources in Lake Tanganyika and its attendant strategic opportunities. Her membership in the EAC is perhaps the biggest gift that could be harnessed.
One way to get such an airline is through privatization of the formation of strong partnerships and alliances. That is why the restructuring should be expedited!