Malawian Airlines Limited, a strategic partner with Ethiopian Airlines (ET), has bemoaned the shortage of pilots at the level of captain, saying it is delaying the company’s plans to expand into the Kenya market.
The airline’s chief executive officer, Kassim Geresu, said when he met Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango last week, there are a number of challenges affecting their operations which require government’s intervention.
Apart from lacking pilots, he said they are also feeling the impact of high price of jet fuel, reduced patronage on the Lilongwe-Dar es Salaam route largely due to kwacha depreciation.
“In as much as much as we are one of the best airlines in the region always sticking to schedules, we are facing a number of challenges which government must help us to solve.
“For example, when we were launching the Dar es Salaam route, a good number of passengers who normally use land transport decided to start flying, but with the kwacha not being stable we are losing these passengers,” he said.
On his part, Mhango admitted that there are several challenges affecting the airline industry, but said government is looking at ways to solve them.
“As a country, we need players like Malawian Airlines, but if they have challenges they cannot compete favourably,” he said.
Currently, Malawian Airlines operates two aircrafts a Boeing 737-800 and Bombardier Q 400.