Malawi runs out of jet fuel, worsens aviation crisis

Aviation fuel troubles have compounded airlines flying through Malawi with air travellers slowly getting in a fix on available travel options.

International airlines have also been forced to divert their aircraft due to the country’s long-running fuel shortage.

This follows an incident in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday where South African Airways (SAA), stunned passengers who were expecting to board airplane flight number 170 to Lilongwe when they were told that only half of the passengers would make it into the plane.

One of the abandoned passengers said they were told that in Malawi there was no Jet A1 fuel which would enable the plane to make a round trip.

Jet fuel shortage: Malawi airport

“Flight number 170 for Lilongwe at 10.30 had to offload half of the passengers because there is no Jet fuel in Malawi hence they can only make a round trip with half of passengers,” said the passenger, according to National Gazette.

SAA is the only airline that is flying between South Africa and Malawi a route which has more air passengers who also connect to other destinations.

This leaves a constricted choice for travellers after Air Malawi suspended its flights to Johannesburg because of financial challenges the company is facing.

Malawi is undergoing several economic challenges brought mainly by forex shortages which have led to multiplier effects of decreasing supplies of fuel and other raw material.

An almost complete absence of foreign currency means the country simply does not have the money to pay for essential imports, such as fuel.

This has been going on for over eight months now in the end reducing economic activities and price increase of basic commodities.

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika, arriving from his two week vacation in Hong Kong’s gateway exotic city of Macau,  on Monday failed to answer a question on the fuel shortages when asked.

“How would you suggest we solve this problem,” Mutharika asked a journalist who had asked him for solutions to ending the shortages.

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