Ethiopian Airlines will commence Goma’s first scheduled international services with effect from February 10, Airline Route has reported. The 3x weekly flight from Addis Ababa to the eastern Congolese border town will operate via Entebbe/Kampala on-board a B737-800.
The airfield’s only runway, 18/36, was severely damaged by the 2002 eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, 14 km to the north. The runway, originally 3’000m long, was reduced to 1’800m of serviceable pavement after a lavaflow 200m by 1000m engulfed the facility.
In 2013, German NGO Welthungerhilfe (“World Hunger Aid”) signed a USD15million contract with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s air navigation services and airport management provider, Regie des Voies Aériennes (RVA), to rehabilitate 500m of runway damaged by the lavaflow.
An important hub in Eastern Congo, Goma International Airport has suffered numerous air crashes over the last twenty years, largely due to its difficult approach, frequent poor weather, and lack of reliable aeronautical infrastructure.