South African Airways resumes Malawi flights after 3-year suspension
By Deogratias Mmana:
South African Airways (SAA) Thursday resumed flights to Malawi after a three-year suspension due to Covid-19.
Minister of Tourism Vera Kamtukule was among those that welcomed the first SAA flight at Kamuzu International Airport after 36 months.
She said the Malawi government was delighted to have SAA flights back. She said the government was improving infrastructure in the aviation sector to give a conducive environment to airlines so that they give no excuse.
“We are recapitalising infrastructure for the aviation sector to give a conducive environment to the airlines. South African Airways is known for standards and we urge you to uphold those standards and ensure that you are compliant to our laws so that your stay here is permanent,” Kamtukule said.
She assured SAA that it has made the right decision to resume flights to Malawi because the country has the potential for trade and industry, adding that the two flights per week are not enough as demand will overwhelm the airline.
SAA Chief Executive Officer John Lamola said the company has resumed flights after the Covid break because Malawi has potential for tourism and that SAA, as a member of Star Alliance that connects to Europe and North America, connects tourists from such lands to Malawi via Johannesburg.
Lamola said the forex challenge in Malawi does not pose a threat to the flights because, comparing with other routes the airline deals with, Malawi’s case is minimal.
Lamola said the company has learnt lessons from the Covid which will help it run sustainably.
He added that the company has learnt to work in a more leaner, agile and sustainable mode financially.
“SAA used to depend on the South African government for support as a national carrier but we have rebuilt SAA into a very strong company, where there is a possibility of getting a strategic partner,” Lamola said.
The airline will have two flights every week between Lilongwe/Blantyre and Johannesburg.