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Malawi lobbies Turkish Airlines

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The Malawi High Commission in London has asked the Turkish Airlines, the World’s largest airline by destination, to consider a direct flight into Malawi from Europe in a bid to boost trade, tourism and investment.

Malawi has over 30 flights weekly connecting through Johannesburg, Nairobi and Addis Ababa which has been a challenge for most tourists to fly into the country.

Malawi High Commissioner Kena Mphonda said Turkish airlines already flies into Maputo, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Johannesburg which could be easy for the airline to extend one flight into Malawi, as demand for direct flights into Europe is increasing.

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“Malawi is now a big five tourist’s destination. We are seeing numbers of tourists increasing. We have strong links with the UK and have seen an increase in traffic from Portugal, Ireland, Netherland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway which makes economic sense for a flight to Lilongwe from Europe which can either make a stopover or terminate there,” Mphonda said.

He said using Birmingham Airport as a hub, the Airline could benefit from the large Malawi community and the British communities in Midland cities of Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham, Northampton and Derby who fly into Malawi for various reasons including religious, family ties, education, business and tourism.

“In Leicester alone we have over 30,000 people of Malawian origin or with ties to Malawi that run very successful businesses. The figure if you could add schools, charities and religious groups that are linked to Malawi you are looking at over 100,000 plus people directly linked to Malawi,” he said.

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“There is huge traffic into Middle East for religious pilgrimages, China and Far East for business and education, which all makes a good case to have an airline people can connect in Europe straight from Lilongwe,” he added.

Turkish Airlines, Manager for Midlands and Wales, Selim Oztruk, whose airline sponsored a meeting at Birmingham Airport for businesses in midlands to hear what Malawi has to offer, pledged to pursue the airlines Africa’s departments to start exploring the opportunities Malawi has to offer to the airline.

“We offer global connections to 299 destinations in 120 countries. We hope to add our 300th destination by the end of the year and see if Malawi can make it,” he said.

The Mission and the Airline have agreed to have joint promotions in the UK on Malawi as an investment and tourist’s destination while encouraging travelers to use the Airline into Africa.

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