The International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) says government needs to prioritise improving the standards for the aviation industry in the country as a means of facilitating the growth of tourism, trade and foreign direct investment.
Icao President, Olumuyiwa Bebard Aliu, made the remarks on Saturday evening when he met President Peter Mutharika at Chikoko Bay State Lodge in Mangochi.
Aliu emphasised the need for the country to improve standards to match regional and global benchmarks so that Malawi can effectively compete with the rest of the world as a possible tourist destination.
Aliu said Malawi needs to develop its infrastructure and human capital, among others, so that the industry can also support economic development.
“Mr President, we believe the aviation industry is key to economic development, trade and tourism of any country. Malawi has an enormous tourism potential, especially along the lakeshore districts such that having an international airport in Mangochi can be a gold mine for the country,” Aliu said.
He said currently, the international aviation body is aware of flaws in the country’s aviation sector, hence their coming to assure its support to build capacity for players in the industry.
Reacting, President Mutharika indicated that government has the intention to open the lake to the whole world by setting up infrastructure that supports aviation activities.
He said currently, his government is in the process of establishing appropriate legislation to regulate and support the growth of the industry which he acknowledged is key to economic development.
“We are creating new regulations for the industry. At the moment, Cabinet has already approved a bill approving the establishment of the Civil Aviation Authority which will be responsible to support and monitor the aviation industry,” he said.