BLANTYRE (Malawi NewsNow ) —Malawi Airlines which has received criticism from entrepreneurs for its decision to cancel indefinitely the morning flights from Blantyre to Lilongwe on their schedules, has said the decision has been made in the interest of saving the airline from collapsing.
The airline has instead shifted the flight to afternoons.
Malawi Airlines is flying from Blantyre to Lilongwe at 3.35 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and at 5:50pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Malawian Airline Boeing 707 300 is still flying from Lilongwe to Blantyre at 8:00am and at 1:00pm daily afternoon hours.
Business people said the morning flights were convenient to their business travels.
“They have to rethink and bring back the morning flights,” says business tycoon Mr Mike Chilewe.
“Maybe Fastjet should be given this kind of opportunity,” add Chilewe.
But Malawi Airlines public relations officer, Mr Maganizo Mazeze, says the removal of the flight was made on business sense.
“We haven’t had good patronage on the flight. The patronage has not been good enough to sustain our operation,” says Mazeze.
Mazeze says the airline appreciates concerns raised “but unfortunately we have to look at operation cost. We cannot continue with operations that are draining the resources, otherwise we will close down.”
Mazeze insists: “Patronage is the major reason why we have removed the morning flight. It was not full always. Airline business uses lots of resources in one flight.
“If it is seen necessary to resume the morning flight, we will resume.”
Mazeze also says Malawian Airlines has reduced the fairs for Lilongwe-Blantyre domestic flight.
“We have reduced the fairs because we know it is inconveniencing the people,” he says.
He also says the airline has reduced its fairs its Dar er Salam flight to K42, 000 “to respond to market forces.”
Malawian Airlines, which started its operations last year, flies to Lusaka four times a week, Harare three times, Dar es Salaam three times and to Johannesburg.
The Malawi Government holds 51 percent of shares with Ethiopian Airlines holding the remaining stake