Malawi is now ready to refuel any type of aircraft following the acquisition of modern refuellers by Puma Energy Limited, Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila has said.
Puma Energy has invested about K470 million ($779,242) to purchase two Mercedes Benz refuellers which will be stationed at Chileka and Kamuzu international airports in Blantyre and Lilongwe respectively.
The refuellers can handle any type of aircraft from Boeing to Airbus, according to Puma Energy. Not only that, they are also computerised and can test, sample and pump 2 200 litres of jet fuel into an aircraft within a minute.
Speaking during the launch of the refuellers in Lilongwe on Friday, Kasaila said Puma Energy’s investment will help to market the country’s aviation sector to other established airlines.
“This is an unprecedented development which will help us market the country with ease to other airlines. These refuellers can handle any aircraft and we are moving in the right direction,” he said.
The minister said what Puma has done is commendable and will make Malawi a competitive destination for other airlines.
Puma Energy managing director Davies Lanjesi in an interview said the fuel importing firm wants to move with the times because technology is advancing.
“The refuellers we have acquired are the best you can get anywhere in the world. We have spent about K235 million on each machine and due to its sophistication, it can check quality of fuel, do sampling and even print results of tests electronically.
“I can confidently say that we are ready to handle any type of aircraft now,” he said.
Lanjesi said before the the refuellers, sampling and testing of jet fuel was done manually, adding that refuellers will now ease the job of testing jet fuel.
On reports that jet fuel in Malawi is expensive, he said the problem lies in the way fuel is transported, which is by road, from the ports of Beira in Mozambique and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
“We transport our fuel by road and this is the main reason why jet fuel price is somehow expensive in Malawi. But it is not true to say that we are the most expensive in the region because Botswana charges much more than us,” said Lanjesi.
Besides Malawian Airlines, some of the airlines that fly into Malawi include South African Airways (SAA), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Fastjet and Kenya Airways (KQ). n