The debts left behind by the liquidated local airline, Air Malawi, are still haunting its successor, Malawian Airlines, Weekend Nation has established.
Planes of the Malawian Airlines could not be allowed to land in South Africa and Tanzania until the accumulated debts in landing fees left behind by Air Malawi were cleared.
Jimmy Lipunga, chief executive officer of the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) – the facilitator of the Air Malawi liquidation and creation of the new airline – confirmed in an interview on Tuesday that the planes were only allowed to land in the two countries after a down payment of the total amount of the debt.
“It is true that the planes from Malawi under the new airliner could not be allowed to land in these two countries because Air Malawi left behind huge amounts of debts in landing fees.
“Apparently the situation with the Air Malawi finances had deteriorated to the extent that they were not able to pay even landing fees. Malawian Airlines planes were only allowed to land after payment of a deposit,” said Lipunga.
He could not specify the amount only saying the outstanding landing fees were part of a total debt burden estimated at K8 billion that broke the back of Air Malawi and triggered the need to simply liquidate it.
“The problems of Air Malawi included even failing to buy fuel for themselves. Government had to bail them out many times,” he said.