Almost 20 months after it got grounded and four months after it was put up for sale following the liquidation of local airliner, Air Malawi, flight ATR 42/72 —MSN 236—7Q-YKQ is wearing away in a hangar at Chileka Airport in Blantyre waiting for suitors.
Jimmy Lipunga, chief executive officer of the Public Private Partnership Commission—facilitators of the liquidation process —confirmed this week the plane, christened Shire after the longest and largest river in Malawi, was still at Chileka because there are no serious suitors in sight.
“There has been no serious offer despite so many attempts to dispose,” said Lipunga of the plane whose records show its age stands at 23.3 years as of today, having taken its maiden flight on February 27, 1991.
“The business of planes is quite delicate. The plane would still have been attractive if its age was around 10 years,” he added. “Therefore, being an old aircraft, selling it won’t be easy.”
According to Lipunga, the liquidator of Air Malawi, whose fleet the plane is one, is now exploring the option of disposing it to one of its creditors in a debt swap.
In March, liquidator and partner in Deloitte and Touche, Lekani Katandula, said the buyers interested in the plane, which was delivered in Malawi on December 12 1991, were bidding for low prices.
“The reason they are giving is that it is more than 20 years old and cannot be used as a passenger plane in most jurisdictions. Therefore, the plane has limited market,” said Katandula at the time.
Air Malawi’s two Boeing aeroplanes, Kwacha and Sapitwa, grounded at Safair in South Africa were earmarked to be sold as scrap having been ground for a long time, according to Katandula.
“Because the planes were for the better part of the years exposed to weather, everyone that has seen them agrees that they will never fly again.
“They can only be used as a source of spare parts. Not much is going to be recovered from them because they were not taken care of,” he explained.
Details of the two planes are as follows:
—Boeing 737-33A –cn 25056/ in 2045
—Registration Number: 7Q-YKP
—Construction Number: 25056
—Line Number: 2045
—Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-33A
—First Flight: April 29, 1991
—Delivery Date: May 20, 1991
—Plane Age: 23.2 years
—Airframe Status: Stored
—Aircraft Name: Kwacha
—Remark: Leased from AWAS, and
—Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-522
—Registration Number: 7Q-YKW
—Delivery Date: September 19, 2005
—Old identity: 7Q-YKW Rwanda Air
—Exit Date: May 9, 2007
—Air Craft Name: Sapitwa