Kamuzu International Airport (KIA), Malawi’s major international airport, being blacklisted international airlines over aviation safety issues with South African Airways (SAA) cancelling flights on Friday.
SAA advised its customers that its flights to and from Lilongwe Kamuzu International Airport were cancelled due to the change of category status and resultant conditions at the airport “which are currently not compatible with prescribed operational requirements for SAA to continue its scheduled services to and from Lilongwe”.
Spokesperson for SAA Tlali Tlali said in statement made available to Nyasa Times: “We operate within a highly regulated industry and must always ensure compliance with the prescribed requirements set out by the regulating authorities.”
SAA confirmed customers would be able to re-book their flights under certain terms and conditions.
The developments comes after the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has warned that delays to address aviation safety issues could put the country’s airports at risk of being blacklisted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao).
DCA director Alfred Mtilatila warned that the delays to improve safety standards at the country’s main airports have huge implications to the country as a whole.
Mtilatila cited electrical voltage system at KIA which he said has outlived its lifespan
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe warned in hat Malawi airports risk being blacklisted due to poor safety aviation standards.
In February this year, KIA suffered a security breach after a man, suspected to be mentally ill, managed to board a plane grounded on the runway and spent the whole night in the plane without being detected.
The man forcefully removed the emergency exit door of the plane, a Q400 Bombardier belonging to Malawian Airlines, to make his way into the plane at around 3am and was only detected several hours later by engineers who noticed that the plane’s door had been removed.