Lakestar Express Limited, a Malawian-owned budget airline, has will start to operate both domestic and international flights, by January 2018 after being issued an air service licence by the Ministry of Transport and Public Works.
According to its chief executive officer Allain Chidzanja, the airline is expected to start with two 19-passenger Beechcraft 1900D between Lilongwe and Blantyre as well as the Northern Region.
Lakestar Express Limited has invested $7 million (about K5.1 billion) to to bring competition in the aviation sector.
Chidzanja said the airline will give passengers an opportunity to fly between Blantyre and Lilongwe and revive the Northern route in Mzuzu, Karonga and Likoma.
“We will start with domestic operations only for eight months,” Chidzanja said.
He said after four months, Lakestar Express will put another plane and will be ready go regional to Lusaka [Zambia], Johannesburg [South Africa], Harare [Zimbabwe], Nairobi [Kenya] and eastern side of Mozambique.
Currently, Malawi has only one airline, Malawian Airlines Limited, operating on the domestic market as well as regional.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works spokesperson James Chakwera said the licensing of Lajestar Express is a welcome development to the transport sector as more operators will encourage competition, which would in turn bring down fares, thereby increasing passenger services.