Malawiâ€™s three airports need to be computerised to increase efficiency and be in line with modern technological trends, a local business mogul has said.
Â Malawiâ€™s airports of Kamuzu International in Lilongwe, Chileka in Blantyre and Mzuzu cities, unlike those of neighbouring countries, are still manually checking in passengers, among others, a situation that results in delays and inconveniences.
Local businessperson, Thom Mpinganjira, who is also FDH Financial Holdings group chief executive officer, wondered if government has ever thought of computerising the system.
â€œThe process [using manual system] is cumbersome, itâ€™s delaying and itâ€™s embarrassing, especially if you are coming from outside Malawiâ€¦ we have visitors coming with us. I think there should be specific mention on computerising the facilities at the airport,â€ said a soft-spoken Mpinganjira.
He observed that the checking, despite being contracted to a certain company, is â€˜awfulâ€™ and there is need for improvement.
Mpinganjira, sounding frustrated, said the flights are now delaying for about an hour or so because people cannot be checked in fast enough, adding that this affects businesses and those who are connecting to other destinations in South Africa.
â€œThere is need to [improve] the checking in system [because] the system is archaic, it is done manually with very few people. There are delays always in terms of planning,â€ he said.
Mpinganjira was speaking at a recent public dialogue on Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) in Blantyre last week.
The ERP focuses on five pillars; agriculture, mining, tourism, transport infrastructure and Information, Communication and Technology (ICT).
Minister of Tourism Daniel Liwimbi, in his presentation at the function, mentioned that Chileka Airport is being rehabilitated.
But Mpinganjira said: â€œI know there was mention of Chileka being rehabilitated. Letâ€™s be serious here, the arrivals [section rehabilitation] has already been done, but there has not been much that has changed. There is not very much that has been done apart from the tiling.â€
â€œIf you look at the space, there is not much that has changed, the space is still the same,â€ said Mpinganjira, citing Zimbabwe where their airport has been expanded.
He said government can work on arrangement of Build Operate and Transport (BOT) in airportsâ€”an arrangement in which a private firm works on the airport and operates it sometime before handing over to government.