Air Malawi suspends flights to South Africa

Harsh  reality has now finally caught up cash-strapped parastatal Air Malawi which has announced suspension of its flights to Johannesburg.

The so called Malawi flag carrier has been running its operations by paying high fees for leasing aircraft for the past 3 years.

This is because two of the public run planes have been confiscated by maintenance companies in South Africa after government failed to pay for the necessary costs to fly them back home.

Air Malawi’s chief executive officer Patrick Chilambe told the press that leasing costs the company had accumulated into huge debts whose figure he was very afraid to publicise.

He added that the flights to Johannesburg would be shelved until new agreements are made.

However inside sources said the company might close this time around since its debt have shot up to over K10 billion up from K6 billion which was made public in 2008 in Parliament.

In a statement Air Malawi its lease agreement with a South African company where it was using a Boeing 737-200 had expired and that it was in the process of sourcing a better, reliable and efficient aircraft.

“As such all flights to Johannesburg have temporarily been suspended for a period of two weeks. It is estimated that these flights will resume on 1st December 2011,” said Air Malawi.

The other plane, an ATR 42, has been undergoing maintenance, and Air Malawi said it would resume operations on November 21 for flights to Blantyre, Lilongwe, Harare, Lusaka and Dar-es-salaam.

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