Ecstasy was the catchword on Monday as Malawian Airlines finally inaugurated its commercial flight to South Africa using the newly acquired Boeing 737-800 jet, barely a month after commencing its domestic operations.
It was also all smiles for the Airlines’ first passengers, both Malawians and foreigners, who expressed pleasure with the stupendous services accorded to them.
Malawian Airlines received the Boeing 737-800, its second and biggest plane, from its strategic partner, Ethiopian Airlines last Sunday.
The plane, with less than two years in operation, has two-class configuration of business and economy class to fly 154 passengers.
Some of the 30-plus passengers who were the first to fly on the Boeing from South Africa to Malawi told reporters at Chileka Airport in Blantyre they were satisfied with the airline’s services.
“It was a wonderful flight [from Johannesburg to Blantyre]. I enjoyed the crew’s hospitality, the food, actually all the services we were accorded on-board,” Flora Mwandira, who was the first to disembark from the plane at Chileka Airport, told Nyasa Times.
When told it was Malawian Airlines’ maiden flight from South Africa and she was actually the first passenger to come out of it at Chileka Airport, Mwandira gushed about it.
“Oh, really, it’s wonderful… thumbs up to our Airline, it has unique services and let me call on other travellers to fully patronize it,” said Mwandira, the only female Executive Member of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and also Vice President of the Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC).
Another passenger, Brastus Msiska, also admired the airline’s packages particularly its affordable fare (K263 000 return ticket to Johannesburg).
“The flight was really pleasant, the hospitality is just good and the crew made sure every passenger felt contented,” said Msiska, a South African based Malawian.
Malawian Airlines’ Public Relations Officer, Maganizo Fly Mazeze, said they had received tremendous response from travellers considering it was a new company.
“The feedback has been overwhelming, we didn’t expect we could fly more than 30 passengers on our maiden flight to Johannesburg and return with almost a similar number of passengers. It rarely happens in most countries when airlines are launching their first flight.
“I would like to believe that this is one news every Malawian must be excited about that finally they have a Malawian flag carrier, the Malawian Airlines, which is flying to Johannesburg, Harare and anytime will start going to Lusaka, Dar es Salaam, Maputo, Beira and Tete,” said Mazeze.
The Boeing will be flying every day between Lilongwe and Johannesburg with a stopover at Chileka Airport in Blantyre.
“It will be departing Lilongwe at 08.00am every day and arrive in Blantyre at 08.30am before proceeding to Johannesburg at 09:30am and return in the afternoon. This is the first time in Malawian history to have a daily flight connecting Johannesburg and Malawi’s two cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe,” explained Mazeze.
The Malawi Government has pumped in about K2 billion towards the new national airliner, which replaced the beleaguered Air Malawi and is the major shareholder with 51 percent while the Ethiopian Airlines has 49 percent.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :