Passengers eligible to use Very Important Person (VIP) lounges at Chileka and Kamuzu International airports will now have to dig deep into their pockets to access the facilities.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Principal Secretary Dalitso Kabambe disclosed this yesterday when he had an audience with the International Relations Committee of Parliament in Lilongwe, saying it is part of the reforms his ministry is implementing in line with government’s Public Reforms Agenda.
He said the move, which is expected to roll out on July 1 this year, will also help maintain order in the lounges.
“The decision has been made with a view to regulate the use of the lounges and allow individuals who normally use such facilities in their travel elsewhere but are deprived the opportunity in Malawi to access them,” said Kabambe.
He said under the new arrangement, users will have to book in advance and pay between K50 000 ($70) and K100 000 ($140) to use the facility.
He also said each user will only be allowed a maximum of two guests.
“Access will be restricted to the title holder, and immediate family members will only be allowed access when they are in the company of the title holder,” said Kabambe. According to the PS, this is the prevailing practice in most countries where VIP facilities are provided to the public at a fee. He, however, said currently, a team of officials from the ministry and other relevant stakeholders are working on how to operationalise the project.