South African Airways (SAA) has resumed its tri-weekly flights to Malawi after a two-week absence due to safety concerns at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
The airline cancelled flights to Blantyre to await an implementation of a corrective action plan following audit findings at Chileka related to the condition of the airport. The airport was built in the 1950s during the colonial era when Malawi was known as the British Protectorate of Nyasaland.
On 18 January, SAA took a decision to cancel flights between the Johannesburg and Blantyre cities after an audit process which confirmed that the airport was not fully compliant with minimum standards required for SAA to operate in line with its licensing conditions.
“We took steps immediately after we suspended operations to Blantyre and dispatched personnel from our head office to augment our staff in Blantyre to attend to the audit findings in order to ensure compliance with our licensing conditions,” SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said.
The airline, working together with the Malawian authorities as well as stakeholders such as the Malawian Ministry of Transport and the local municipality in Blantyre, have now implemented the required interventions to return the airport to expected levels for safe operations, thereby allowing the flights to resume on Saturday.
SAA operates a tri-weekly service between Johannesburg and Blantyre on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.