The Herald (Harare)

5 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Malawian Airways Lands in Zim

Malawian Airways became the latest airline to land in Zimbabwe after its maiden flight on Monday, an official confirmed. The introduction of Malawian Airways comes after the government of Malawi liquidated Air Malawi following two failed attempts to resuscitate it.

Previously, there was no direct air link between Malawi and Zimbabwe and passengers had to go through Johannesburg, South Africa.

In an interview, CFX director (a local company that represents Malawian Airlines) Mr Garikayi Garande said the maiden flight by Malawian Airlines was a positive step towards boosting confidence into the tourism sector.

"Our tourism sector has been subjected to attacks from the hostile western media, and the coming in of Malawian Airways will play a critical part towards developing the sector.

"An increase in airlines into the country will also improve connectivity and support trade around the SADC region which has for long revolved around Johannesburg," he said.

Mr Garande said the airline will fly the Lilongwe-Blantyre-Harare route three times of a week.

"The official launch of the airline is set for this month and we are currently working on the logistics," he said.

The aircraft that made the maiden flight is a DH8 Bombadier.

In a bid to improve viability of the airline, the Malawian government went into a strategic partnership with Ethiopian Airlines which now owns 49 percent of Malawian Airways.

As part of the equity structure, the Government of Malawi and other private investors will have ownership of 51 percent shareholding.

The partnership will also allow the Ethiopian Airlines to set up an office in southern Africa, a move that would see it competing with Kenya Airways.

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