Air Malawi says it is in its current bad financial state because the previous administration did not provide the company with proper support.
In an exclusive interview in Blantyre on Monday, the airlineâ€™s tariffs and industry affairs manager Tony Chimpukuso said, with proper support from the shareholder (the Malawi Government) in terms of equipment, the company is a viable business that could be utilised to bring foreign exchange into the country.
Chimpukuso said at the moment, the company, which owes its service suppliers, especially those that provide aircraft parts about K4 billion, needs about $500 000 (K125 million) for a longer period leasing of a Boeing 737 500.
He also confirmed that the National Audit Office (NAO) is conducting a performance assessment of the airline to determine its viability as a business.
Said Chimpukuso: “At the moment, we are still waiting to get the final report from the audit and, of course, there are debtors, but itâ€™s not K4 billion. It might be in the ranges of K240 millionÂ which came about because of bad debtors.â€
Chimpukuso said the devaluation of the kwacha will also bloat the companyâ€™s financial obligation because it owes foreign and local suppliers a huge sum of money for providing aircraft parts and services.
With the hosting of the African Union (AU) summit in July, Chimpukuso said the country could have taken advantage to equip the airline to provide constant transportation between Blantyre and Lilongwe for delegates who cannot be accommodated in the capital city.
Said Chimpukuso:Â “If we can have one or two jets, we will be able to bring into the country a lot of forex and at the same time reduce the externalisation of forex by other airlines who are in bilateral partnership.â€
NAO corporate communications officer Thomas Chafunya on Monday said the concrete amounts of what the airline is owed by debtors and what it was owing service providers would be known after the performance review audit.