Travellers, Air Malawi accrue heavy losses on Joburg route

The non-availability of Air Malawi flights between the country and South Africa led to pressure on South African Airways and is increasing travellers costs on the route.

Air Malawi suspended its flights due to non-availability of aircraft but now SAA flights between Malawi and South Africa are fully booked up to February with travellers paying highly for the flights.

SAA charges K150,000 a return ticket on the route is over 100 percent more compared to the K70,000 Air Malawi charges per return ticket between Johannesburg and Malawi.

No plane for Air Malawi

Mark Mphande, an entreprenuer and frequent traveller to South Africa said people have no choice but to pay more to get a convenient travel.

“This is always the problem people face when there is no competition, we get exploited. Whoever is making decisions in government which owns Air Malawi 100 per cent must come to our rescue,” said Mphande.

A closer look at all this means Air Malawi has for now totally lost its market on the route to SAA and if it does not pay for the release of its two Boeings another player may come in to erase the national airline off the picture.

Air Malawi’s Tarrifs Manager Tony Chimpukuso admitted that the airline is losing what he said were ‘substantial’ amounts of revenue.

Sources at the public company said the Malawi-Joburg route contributes over 60 per cent of Air Malawi’s revenue.

Chimpukuso said discussions are at an advanced stage of leasing another aircraft.

“It will either be a Boeing 737 300 or 500 whichever will be available first .The Bravo Capital aircraft was Boeing 737 200 and slightly older than the Boeing 300 and Boeing 500 Series. The aircraft will be leased from the regional market,” Chimpukuso said.

He also said all Air Malawi sales revenues are generated in local currency with none of it externalised but used to create jobs and other economic activities in Malawi.

“The airline is also involved in meaningful tourism as an industry and as a foreign exchange earner for the country,” said Chimpukuso.

As of now Air Malawi is only servicing domestic flights, Harare and Lusaka routes using its only ATR 42 aircraft.

Although this is the case, the public company owns 2 Boeing 737’s but its shareholder does want to pay for its service costs which have contributed to Air Malawi’s debt of K7 billion.

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