AIR BURUNDI ORDERS CHINESE BUILT MA60 TURBOPROPS
According to a source in Bujumbura has national airline Air Burundi now ordered two Chinese built turboprop aircraft of MA60 types, in an apparent effort to boost capacity and allow the flag carrier to fly to key neighbouring countries, like Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and even Congo under their own schedules, rather than, as is presently the case, depend almost entirely on airlines from those countries to fly into Bujumbura. While it could not be confirmed outright it is thought that China has made favourable credit terms available to Air Burundi, with the government in Bujumbura reportedly ready to guarantee any loans, in an effort to bring Chinese built aircraft into the Great Lakes region where hitherto the turboprop market is dominated by ATR, Bombardier and for the smaller types Czech built LETs and the traditional Cessna and the Beechcraft 1900.
The purchase will be a boost not only to the airlines operational capabilities but could also be a precursor to at least in part privatise the airline when the financial performance makes it possible. Watch this space.