Malawian Airlines says it will sustain operations at Chileka International Airport by introducing a direct flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, despite the main runway being closed for renovations.
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) last week announced that it will close the main runway for three months from April 24 July 23 2019 for renovations.
However, the secondary runway will remain operational during the period and will be used for lighter aircrafts.
Speaking during a media conference in Lilongwe on Friday, Malawian Airlines commercial manager Charles Ng’ambi said in view of the development, it has leased a Bombardier Q400, from its strategic partner Ethiopian Airlines which will be operating between Blantyre and Johannesburg.
He said: “After we received a notification on April 11 about the closure of Chileka International Airport, specifically the longer runway, as management we discussed how best we can support the Blantyre market.”
Ng’ambi expressed optimism that the development will not have a negative impact on their business, saying passengers will not feel the changes because flights will continue in and out of Chileka International Airport.
In January this year, Ministry of Transport and Public Works announced that it will spend over K4 billion to rehabilitate Chileka International Airport to make it usable in three months.
The rehabilitations will be done while awaiting full refurbishment of the airport.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works Principal Secretary Francis Chinsinga said the airport lacks some operational equipment such as firefighting equipment, a full-fledged clinic with an ambulance and that its runway developed cracks.
The development forced some airlines recently, notably South African Airlines (SAA) to halt operations due to safety and security concerns.
Said Chinsinga: “As a short and medium-term measure, we are procuring a contractor to rehabilitate the runway using government resources.” n