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Air Burundi Xian MA60 B-101SL (9U-BHU) cn 1019 was delivered already in June 2012 but it has
sat idle on the ramp at Bujumbura International Airport ever since then.
Over four years after its first aircraft of the type arrived in Bujumbura, Air Burundi may, at last,
deploy the MA-60 into commercial service after the Burundian civil aviation authority (AACB)
granted the aircraft its Validation of Type Certificate (VTC).
A Burundi government press statement indicates the conveyance of the certificate occurred in
early December 2016 as confirmed by the country's Minister of Transport. With the VTC in
place, aircraft is now eligible to apply for a Certificate of Airworthiness which, if granted, will
enable the aicraft to begin commercial flight operations.
With this VTC, Air Burundi would now allow the MA-60 to enter service not only in Burundi
but across the rest of the EAC bloc which includes Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
History - background
Air Burundi is the state-owned national airline of Burundi, although in practice it has not been
operational since 2009.
The carrier operated scheduled regional passenger services to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Its main base is Bujumbura International Airport and its headquarters are also in Bujumbura.
The airline was established in April 1971, and started operations in 1975. It was formed as Société
de Transports Aériens du Burundi, and adopted the present name Air Burundi in June 1975.
Air Burundi Douglas DC-3
Photo: Michel Anciaux
By mid 1970s the airline was operating two Douglas DC-3s (9U-BAB and 9U-BAB) followed by
in the beginning of the 1980s when the fleet had grown to include two de Havilland DHC-6 Twin
Otters (9U-BHA and 9U-BHB) a Sud Caravelle III 9U-BTA.
Scheduled routes linked Bujumbura with Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Goma, Harare, Kigali, Kigoma,
Kilimanjaro, Lusaka, Mwanza and Nairobi.
Air Burundi Sud Caravelle III 9U-BTA delivered 20.05.75. Taken out from service 1994.
Photo: Arno Janssen, Airliners Net
In 1995 the Twin Otters 9U-BHA was sold to Zaire’s Virunga Air Charter and the other Twin Otter
9U-BHB was sold to Aviation Sans Frontiers. In 1992 the carrier took delivery of one Beech 1900
9U-BHD which left the company in June 1998 and was registered TN-AFK in Congo. The Beech
1900C became the only workhorse within the airline. Destinations included Goma, Kalemie, Harare,
Kigoma, Kigali, Lusaka, Kilimanjaro, and Nairobi. The French-made jetliner was withdrawn in 1994.
Operations continued without change in 1995. A military coup d'état that took place in Burundi on
25 July 1996. The regional African nations placed an economic and transportation embargo on
the country. The allied measure effectively grounds the airline. During the remainder of the year and
in 1997–1998, transport at all levels in Burundi was paralyzed.
With political pressure easing, the leaders of East Africa lift their embargo of Burundi on January 25
1999. On February 1, Air Burundi was permitted to resume flights to Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda
with its Beech 1900C.
Air Burundi de Havilland Dash DHC-6-300 9U-BHA Twin Otter 9U-BHA
Air Burundi ceased operations in the spring of 2007. In 2008, the airline was relaunched with daily
flights to Kigali and Entebbe.
Air Burundi Beechcraft 1900C back into service.
In September 2009, an inability to secure adequate funding to overhaul its aircraft led to the airline's
suspension of operations; the single aircraft in operation, a Beechcraft 1900, had reached the maxi-
mum flight hours before a major service was mandated. The aircraft was flown to South Africa to
undergo regular maintenance operations, to cost at least $1m.
In August 2011, East African media reported that Air Burundi had started a process of restructuring.
Six international companies had already been pre-selected, through competitive bidding, to propose
a restructuring process. Plans were apparently under way to either lease or acquire new aircraft to
facilitate the resumption of flight operations but the suggestion never came to fruition. According to
a source in Bujumbura, the national airline, Air Burundi, has 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
neighboring countries, like Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and even Congo. The airline wants
to fly to these destinations under their own schedules, rather than, as is presently the case, depend
almost entirely on airlines from those countries to fly into Bujumbura. In June 28, 2012 the Burundi
national flag carrier took delivery of its first of two Xian MA60s, that the airline ordered last year.
Press reports in September 2013 indicated that the airline will require US$1.3million to overhaul
and return its Beechcraft 1900C into active service in support of the airline's sole functioning
aircraft, an Xian MA60. Despite the arrival of the MA60, operations have yet to resume. For a se-
cond MA60, due as part of a "Buy-One/Get-One Free" deal with China, the contract regarding the
purchase of the aircraft (recorded as having been a "donation" from China to Burundi) had yet to
be finalized, with no delivery date agreed to date.
Here seen the Xian MA60 parked at the at Bjujumbura still waiting for trained pilots and crew.
Photo: Andreas Fotpoulos
Air Burundi Xian MA60 was a gift from China and one more was intended to be delivered, It arrived
2012 after the suspension of flights by the airline Beechraft 1900C.
Jan 05 2014. Air Burundi is facing further delays in relaunching its operations, suspended since
2009. In a Q&A session with the Burundian parliament in Bujumbura in late December, Ministery
of Transport, Public Works and Equipment. It was revealed that the country's civil aviation authority
(Régie des Services Aéronautiques - RSA) lacked the requisite personnel needed to certify the air-
line's sole operational machine, an MA-60, 9U-BHU (cn 1019). "Burundi does not have the staff,
a scarcity characterized not only in Burundi, but also internationally," said Mr Rurimunzu. He added
that the RSA has resumed the process of certifying the turboprop for operations with inspectors cur-
rently undergoing training. The Burundian national carrier signed a contract with Air Zimbabwe in
June 2013 for the provision of MRO services as well as training for its ground and flight personnel.
On the old ramp "Corrosion corner"
This Caravelle has been sitting parked for 19 years after it was withdrawn from use. Except from
the accumulation of mold, it otherwise looks to be in a decent condition.
Photo: Andreas Fotpoulos
This Beechcraft 1900C 9U-BHG parked at the ramp after it was withdrawn from use.
Photo: Andreas Fotpoulos
Except the Caravelle III, 9U-BTA there are two Douglas DC-3s 9U-BRY, 9U-BRZ parked here in
rather good condition.
Photo: Jacques Molitor
Air Burundi Fleet 2015
Beechcraft 1900C (not in service)
Xian MA-60 (not in service)
Thanks to all Photographers.
If you do recognize any of the images taken by you,
please send an e-mail to the undersigned to remove it
or let me credit you the photo.
©Copyright 2015 by Tony Edlind