South African Airways suspends Blantyre route due to concerns of Chileka Airport

South African Airways (SAA) has shut down its Blantyre operations in Malawi  effective from Saturday, January 19 2019 after the Civil Aviation Authority found severe non-compliance at Chileka International Airport, that pose serious safety risks.

SAA flights cancelled due to an audit conducted at the Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.

The airline opted to halt its operations after the Chilima airport’s perimeter fence has been vandalised and falls short of international standards.

Recently, dogs invaded the Chileka International Airport runway and forced a Malawian Airlines aircraft to abort a take-off after the pilot sighted animals on the final lap.

Ministry of Transport and Public Works spokesperson James Chakwera said the fence was not part of the current rehabilitation works being carried out at the airport.

“The fence is supposed to be included in a different project under the European Investment Bank [EIB] funded project. Hopefully, by early 2019, it should roll out,” he said.

Chileka International Airport has for the past years been undergoing a facelift whose works were supposed to be finalised by last October but the deadline was missed.

The inspector  also found out that the  airport’s ambulance and fire engine are in disrepair, which means emergency support services would not be immediately available.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said there is ‘“inadequacy of aviation infrastructure facilities and related emergency support services offered at Chileka International Airport, one of the two Malawian bases utilised by SAA.”

SACAA spokesperson Pappie Maja said SAA operations at the airport would be halted until all issues raised by the authority were addressed and a follow-up inspection done.

“We welcome SAA’s decision to halt its operations at the said airport. The airline accepted our findings and agreed that it was in the interest of safety to stop operations there,” Maja explained.

SAA advised that customers could choose to be re-routed between Johannesburg and Lilongwe (LLW) for the period January 19 to 21. Customers would be re-accommodated to these scheduled flights: SA170 – Johannesburg (JNB) – Lilongwe (LLW) and SA171 – Lilongwe (LLW) – Johannesburg (JNB).

 

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Achiswe
Guest

Please do not call Chileka an ‘International’ Airport. To do so is to shame the country. Forget the four stadiums Mr President; direct the money to improving/developing the country’s communication systems, especially the airports and railways.

POOR MAN FEEL IT
Guest

CHONCHO ZEMVETSA CHISONI TU IZIII ZOONA KOMA MALAWI SAZATHEKA BASI

mukhito
Guest
mukhito

Malawi dziko lomvetsa chisoni ngati maliro zoti atsogoleli athu amayenda maiko akunja ngati bodza mwina amakhala atatsinzina kuti sawona zomwe anzawo akuchita

Le Senor de Los Cielos
Guest
Le Senor de Los Cielos

The airport is a total disgrace. I was ashamed when a work colleague and I (Malawian) landed at Chileka with two other colleagues (South African) for business in October last year. We couldn’t find any good excuse to use that a country over 40 years into independence should still have a place like Chileka masquerading as an airport, let alone one catering for international flights.

Chikadza Kuwani
Guest
Chikadza Kuwani

I have never seen any renovation in the world that can last more than 10 years
Shame on the authorities

KWANU MKWANU
Guest
KWANU MKWANU

THAT IS SHAMEFUL ISSUE, PLSE MALAWI GOVERNMENT.

BEYADI
Guest

MALAWIANS ARE WISE /INTELLIGENT FOR NOTHING !!

Mwananyanian
Guest
Mwananyanian

Question: Is Chileka International Airport now named (Chilima – see par. 2)? Didn’t know that. What has gone on with the renovations and improvements there is BS. I recall in 2014 – yes five years ago – using a huge tent for a restaurant, when the project had just started. This fiasco can be explained only by gross negligence, crass corruption and plain incompetence; more likely all the above. Asa. Incredible how such an important asset can be mismanaged in this country: some of us do fly this J’burg-BLZ route quite often, and now what are we supposed to do?… Read more »

naphili
Guest
naphili

Where is the president in all this? This should have been a priority issue but no, busy talking about issues of no importance instead of developing the country! This IS NOT development. Shame! Malawians, let us change things in 2019.

banks
Guest
banks

Meanwhile the chief executive of this shambles is receiving a huge salary and for what?

maliko chapondera from Thyolo
Guest

Agogowa sakuonapo chitukuko pa Airport koma kumanganso stadium ina ku BT without parliament approval. Ukalamba, ena nkumawombera mmanja