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Operational glitches hit Malawian Airlines

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Malawian Airlines has hinted at operational challenges resulting from regulation shortfalls facing the Department of Civil Aviation. The development results from a 2009 audit involving liquidated Air Malawi which was conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The audit found some glitches in aviation procedures that were being followed at the time.

Malawian Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Cassim Geresu, claims some reputable international institutions are shunning Malawian Airlines based on the audit which found some safety concerns. He said this has resulted in loss of business to competitors Geresu was speaking when Minister of Tourism Jappie Mhango visited the company’s headquarters in Lilongwe this week.

“The Department needs financial support from government in order to attain this [ICAO] status,” said Geresu.

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Geresu further said Malawian Airlines is being restricted from flying passengers between Harare and Lusaka despite being cleared by the Zimbabwean authorities, saying the Zambian authorities are denying the company the chance.

He, therefore, requested the government to intervene and clear the path by engaging relevant authorities.

The company also disclosed plans to start flying to Nairobi but said the move is being delayed due to lack of experienced pilots in the country.

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“We have just recruited the first local captain. Our plans were to first cover the regional routes before flying to other destinations in Africa and elsewhere,” he said.

Responding to the queries, Mhango said he will discuss with Ministry of Transport to decide how best to deal with them.

The Minister also pledged to organise a tourism conference to offer a platform to stakeholders in the industy to find possible solutions to the challenges.

“Some of these issues are too technical for me. I’ll talk to relevant ministries like that of transport to see how they can be addressed but we need a forum that will involve all stakeholders to discuss all these issues,” he said.

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