The aircraft, with a 67-passenger capacity (60 for economy class and seven for business), touched down at Chileka Airport from Lilongwe at 09:20hours with eight passengers. It flew back at 10:25hours with 10 passengers
Meanwhile, the airline says it will delay the arrival of the second aircraft a Boeing 737 800 aircraft, to a later date when it would have secured enough bookings for the Johannesburg route.
Under the strategic partnership agreement for the establishment of Malawian Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines is to provide the two aircrafts as part of its 49 percent shareholding in the company while the Malawi government – which owns a 51 percent stake, is to provide working capital for the initial operations of the airline.
Malawian Airlines was given the Air Operator Certificate from the Department of Civil Aviation to start both domestic and international flights following the securing of traffic rights to destinations it proposed to be flying to.
The airline became the first local airline to be certified using the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO’s) Five Phase certification process which is more thorough and recognised for providing the most assurance on safety.
Ethiopian Airlines intends to make Lilongwe its southern African hub that will avail “easy and hassle free connections to destinations in Ethiopian Airlines’ route network for the longer inter-continental travellers”
Malawian Airlines Public Relations Officer, Maganizo Mazeze said the who point was to make it known that the airline is back and is operational.
“Basically we wanted people to know that Malawian Airlines has now commenced flying with the domestic route. We will have daily flights, every morning, from Lilongwe to Blantyre and back.
“As business picks up we will have double flights between Lilongwe and Blantyre [Lilongwe-Blantyre and back in the morning and in the afternoon]. Flying is very convenient and our intention is to make it affordable to businessperson and the public at large to transact their businesses between Blantyre and Lilongwe without travelling stresses,” Mazeze said.
The spokesperson also disclosed that in few months’ time and depending on the market response, besides Lilongwe and Blantyre, Malawian Airlines would start flying to seven other destinations in Africa which include Johannesburg, Maputo, Harare, Lusaka, Dar es Salaam, Beira and Tete in Mozambique.
“We will eventually introduce the Nairobi [Kenya] and Kampala (Uganda) routes,” he added.