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Government contemplates airports reopening

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The government is contemplating on reopening the country’s airports to facilitate resumption of flights into Malawi.

The government announced closure of the airports in April this year in a bid to contain spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ethiopian Airlines has started advertising for its commercial flights to Malawi indicating that the government has given them a nod to resume.

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In a communication to one of their customers based in United States of America, the airline company indicates that they no longer have restrictions to travel to the country from the August 1.

Ministry of Transport has indicated that flights may resume in the next two weeks to bring business to normalcy and to protect jobs among other things.

Ministry of Transport, Sidik Mia, said in an interview on Thursday that he was in talks with the ministries of finance and health.

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“We will soon start our routes, we are taking measures in terms of the pandemic and we have negotiated with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health to give us the facilities.

“We should be able to do mandatory testing at the airports so as soon as those things are in place within the next two weeks; we will open to the skies,” Mia said.

Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania and Zambia are some of the African countries which have opened their airports to both domestic and commercial flights.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan Airlines has cancelled its Nairobi to Blantyre route amid economic hardships emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the company indicates that the drastic decline in revenues has had a debilitating effect on the airline’s ability to continue operations.

“Our short and medium term projections indicate that we must inevitably reduce our operations before we begin to scale up again. With the suppressed demand for air transport, a large part of the fleet will remain grounded,” reads the communication in part.

Apart from the Nairobi to Blantyre route, the airline company has also halt routes from Nairobi to Luanda in Angola, Bamako in Mali, Brazzaville in Republic of Congo, Mogadishu in Somalia, Khartoum in Sudan, Djibouti in Djibouti and Maputo in Mozambique.

The transportation industry is one of the sectors which have been hit hard by the pandemic as different countries have placed travel restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects that air travel will most likely take two to three years to recover to 2019 levels.

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