Ethiopian Airlines moves into Malawi
Lilongwe – The Malawi government’s Private Public Partnership (PPP) Commission has named Ethiopian Airlines as its preferred partner to resuscitate Air Malawi 2012 Limited.
Jimmy Lipunga, the CEO of the PPP Commission, said Ethiopian Airlines had scored better than five other interested parties.
These were Fly Africa and Alpha and Omega Airlines (South Africa), Global Business Network (Botswana), and Air Express (Malawi).
Ethiopian Airlines will get 49 percent shareholding in the state-owned Air Malawi.
The Malawi government will hold 20 percent, with the remaining 31 percent to be sold to Malawian investors.
The Malawi government has sent all 243 Air Malawi employees on indefinite leave pending retrenchment.
Air Malawi 2012 Ltd workers union president, Clement Chitenje, said they had seen such a development coming.
“The liquidator met us … (and) informed us about the decision and modalities on how government will pay our money,” he said.
The decision to liquidate the country’s sole airline came in November 2012.
Air Malawi had racked up losses since 2000, and efforts to get a strategic partner had failed since then because of the huge debt overhang.
Air Malawi, founded in 1964, made its last international flight on February 13, carrying passengers to South Africa, while domestic routes were ceased in January.
It will now return as a public-private partnership.
Ethiopian Airlines says it will connect Air Malawi to 70 international and 17 local destinations.
It will add 54 aircraft to the fleet of two that had been servicing routes between Malawi and Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.