Malawi Airlines, which in the previous week launched four international routes from Lilongwe, continued to expand its presence in Africa on 17 February, this time with a new service to Lusaka (LUN) in Zambia. The 583-kilometre sector from Lilongwe (LLW) will be operated daily, through thrice-weekly non-stop services and four weekly flights via Blantyre in Malawi, utilising Ethiopian Airlines’ 69-seat Q400s. Malawi’s new route to the capital and largest city of Zambia will face direct competition from Kenya Airways’ daily flights and Proflight Zambia’s thrice-weekly services.
Malawi Airlines Flights
Air Malawi went into liquidation in December 2012, but the corporate entity “Malawi Airline Limited” was launched on the 2nd July 2013 (operations yet to begin). Ethiopian Airlines owns 49% of Malawi Airline Limited, the Malawi Government 20% and Malawian citizens the remaining 31%, with about $20m of start-up capital invested by Ethiopian Airlines. Malawi Government is investing $4m upfront and another $6.2m at a later stage.
There are Malawian Airline flights from Lilongwe to Blantyre, from Blantyre to Harare and from Blantyre to Johannesburg.
- 17 February 2014 Malawian Airlines launches flights from Johannesburg to Blantyre (it’s also possible to fly from Lilongwe to Johannesburg via Blantyre), with the initial flight of course being in the opposite direction (but this site is written from a South African-centric point of view).
- 5 February 2014 Flights from Lilongwe to Blantyre to Harare are launched, with 3 flights a week.
- 30 January 2014 Malawian Airlines launches its first flight, from Lilongwe to Blantyre.
- 20 or 22 January 2014 Malawi Airlines is rumoured to be planning to make its inaugural flight, on the Johannesburg – Blantyre flight route.
- 2013 : Initial plans were for domestic flights to Blantyre, Karonga, Lilongwe & Mzuzu, and regional flights from Johannesburg to Blantyre, as well as to Dar es Salaam, Harare, Luanda & Lusaka.
Updates on the Malawian Airlines fleet :
- 16 February 2014 : In a ceremony at Lilongwe airport, the airline receives its 2nd plane from Ethiopian Airlines, a Boeing 747-800 with a 154 seat capacity.
- 29 January 2014 : Malawian Airlines receives its initial plane – a 67-seater Bombardier Q400, acquired from Ethiopian Airlines.
- 3 January 2014 Malawi’s Government givces Malawi Airlines an AOC (Air Operator Certificate) to operate international flights from Malawi, as well as domestic flights within the country.
On the 3rd October 2013, Kassim Geresu was appointed CEO of Malawi Airways. Geresu was formerly CFO of Ethiopian Airlines.
Air Malawi (2012)
Initially an entity called Air Malawi (2012) had been formed, but it was decided that the Air Malawi name was so damaged that it would be better to form a differently named organisation. “The Air Malawi brand was considered seriously damaged due to erratic services & a negative reputation it accummulated through frequent flight cancellations & bankruptcy records…There is an additional concern that using the name Air Malawi could expose the new airline to predatory creditors who would wish to create embarassment on the new airline…The proposed name is equally effective in stimulating Malawi’s international image”, said the CEO of the Malawi Public Private Partnership Commission, Jimmy Lipunga.