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Government invites private sector to run airports

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Government has drummed up support for the idea of partly privatising airport services as a means of improving efficiency in the aviation sector in the country.

Currently, Malawi, According to government is remaining behind in terms of offering quality aviation services at the country’s airports as compared to other countries in African due to what authorities say lack of proper policy framework guiding the aviation sector.

Going forward, the Department of Aviation says it intends to adopt a pro-business approach of running airports where all the services will be handed over to the private sector as is the case elsewhere.

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Director of Civil Aviation in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Alfred Mtilatila, made the remarks on Saturday when he presided over the official opening of the 16th Travel Agents Association of Malawi (TAAM) Annual General Meeting which was held in Mangochi.

Mtilatila said government is very concerned about the dwindling standard of the aviation services in the country, hence the ongoing reforms at the department to make sure that the sector is starting to register competitive results just as is the case in other African countries.

“Malawi is perhaps the only country which offers airport services for free to airlines and other customers. This is derailing progress in the aviation sector because we fail to provide finances to maintain equipment and infrastructure when the need arises,” Mtilatila said.

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He dismissed fears that the partial privatisation of the airports will make the services expensive to Malawians, saying the idea is to make airport services more attractive and competitive so that they can attract more airlines into the Malawian market.

President of TAAM, Ken Banda, welcomed the government move, saying the aviation sector has the potential to improve the image of the country’s tourism sector, which he said can contribute meaningfully to Malawi’s social economic profile.

He said his association is currently in the process of setting up a secretariat to look into affairs of its members so that they can be sanity and coherence in the sector.

“We have put in place a code of ethics which needs to be adhered to by our members. This we believe augur well with reforms which government is championing in the sector,” Banda said.

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