Transport Minister Jacob Hara has disclosed that five airlines have expressed interest in operating in the country.
“I can confirm that we have five airlines that have recently expressed interest in operating air services. These are LakeStar, Khama Airlines, SimAir, FlyTech Group and Sub Saharan Airlines” Hara said
The minister said if all, or at least some, of the airlines could be successful and launch flights in Malawi, it would be good for the travelling public as there will be a wider range of airlines to pick from.
“The competition would have the potential to improve the quality of services and lower fares while offering more international destinations over and above the domestic services,” he said.
According to the minister, LakeStar, FlyTech Group and SimAir had been granted Air Service Licences (ASL) while the rest were in the process of obtaining such licences.
Hara said an ASL was a preliminary recognition of a company and that it was given after a company satisfied economic requirements to offer air services.
After ASL issuance, an airline embarks on a technical certification process which, when successful, leads to the issuance of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC).
“The technical certification process looks into the airworthiness of the aircraft proposed for use, the inspection and certification of the operator’s maintenance organisation, the adequacy and qualification of the crew, approval of the operations manuals, among others,” Hara said.
He said LakeStar had expressed interest in concentrating on cargo operations while the rest are for the provision of both passenger and cargo services.
The minister said the ministry was looking forward to more operators coming on the ground to facilitate the movement of people and cargo.
There are no restrictions to entry into the market as long as an operator fulfils the relevant legal and technical requirements.
Meanwhile, business expert Alick Nyasulu has said the entry into the market of more operations would be good for the travelling public.
As at now, Malawian Airlines is the only reliable airline for those flying to destinations such as OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa.