Malawian Airlines has announced plans to start flying into Nairobi as part of the company’s expansion drive.
Malawian Airlines chief executive officer Kassim Geresu Geresu said in an interview on Friday that route expansion plans were, however, being hampered by lack of captains and first officers.
He said the airline has roped in four Malawian captains and five first officers are operating aircraft.
“We are very happy that by July we will be able to start flying into Nairobi. Hopefully earlier than July. This has been made possible because the strategic partnership between Malawian and Ethiopian Airlines has also contributed to giving appropriate training to Malawian Airlines pilots,” he said.
According to Geresu, since the establishment of Malawian Airlines, pilots have been trained by Ethiopian Aviation Academy and the arrangement will continue in line with the Malawian Airlines future plans.
Malawian Airlines on Friday also celebrated the first successful flight of Yolanda Ndala Kaunda, who is the first female Malawian captain on the Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
Geresu heaped praise on the 28-year-old captain for setting the pace for young women in the aviation sector and challenged others to follow in her footsteps.
Deputy director in the Department of Civil Aviation James Chakwera said, by producing the airline’s first female Malawian captain, the company has achieved a rare feat which will inspire a lot of females to join not only the transport sector, but the most challenging aviation industry.
“For a long time, the air transport sector has been dominated by males but what we have witnessed today is very unprecedented. The proportion of males to females does not make good reading, a thing which has compelled us to put in place strategies that will help a lot of females to join this sector.
“What Yolanda has achieved is a rare milestone which should encourage the girl child in school to emulate this rare example,” said Chakwera.
On her part, Ndala Kaunda said despite the many challenges she faced along the way, she never gave up because success comes to those who persevere even in times of difficulties.
Ndala Kaunda joined Malawian Airlines at the beginning of 2014 and initially, she used to fly ATR’s and B737classics as first officer in the defunct Air Malawi since 2008.
She joined the Ethiopian Airlines training Academy as Malawian Airlines trainee pilot in 2014 and graduated on Monday, March 7.