Dubai: ECAir (Equatorial Congo Airlines), the national carrier of the Republic of Congo, is launching a direct service to Dubai in a bid to boost trade and investment links between the two countries.
“The whole [point] of coming to Dubai is having direct business links,” Fatima Beyina-Moussa, the airline’s chief executive officer, told Gulf News on Thursday.
The inaugural flight landed in Dubai on Wednesday evening. However, commercial operations will not begin until March 31. It will be the first time a direct air link opens between Dubai and the capital Brazzaville.
Beyina-Moussa spoke to Gulf News ahead of a press conference on Thursday where the new route was officially launched.
ECAir started operations in 2011 and currently has a fleet of four aircraft, two Boeing 757s and two Boeing 737s. The airline’s only other international route is to Paris.
Beyina-Moussa said the airline chose Dubai as its Middle East destination because of the possibility of onwards connections.
A significant amount of Chinese nationals work in Congo, Beyina-Moussa said, adding that the government also wants to improve trade relations with the Middle East.
ECAir is owned by the Congolese government.
“We want to open the Congo and the region to the world, and the world is not just Europe but also the Middle East and Asia, Maria-Angelika Hanne, the airline’s chief commercial officer, told Gulf News.
ECAir is currently involved in preliminary discussions with Gulf and Asian airlines to connect its passengers beyond Dubai.
“We will start with a simple interline agreement. The step later will be a codeshare agreement, and a joint venture will be sometime in the future,” Hanne said.
The Congolese airline has appointed Planet Travels and Tours as its general sales agent in the UAE, which will provide full sales and marketing services as well as customer support, ticketing and administrative facilities. A signing ceremony was held on Thursday with Beyina-Moussa and Georges M Moussa, chairman of Planet Group.