Monday, April 29, 2013

► MALAWI: Kenya Airways granted rights to Blantyre; 5th Freedom rights to Lusaka reinstated.

Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways (KQ) says it has been granted approval by the Malawian Government to begin flights into Blantyre's Chileka Airport effective June 3, 2013. In addition, its 5th Freedom Rights on the Lilongwe (Malawi) - Lusaka (Zambia) vv. sector of its Nairobi - Lilongwe - Lusaka - Nairobi vv. flights have also been reinstated. Neither of the developments at this time of writing, however, currently reflect on the GDS.

Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines  in Lilongwe, Malawi
Kenya Airways & Ethiopian Airlines
in Lilongwe, Malawi
The entry into Blantyre, Malawi's economic hub, would give added competition to South African Airways (SA) and Ethiopian Airlines (ET), who launched Addis Ababa - Lilongwe - Blantyre - Addis Ababa flights in March.

In a letter to the airline from Malawian Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Moffat Chitimbe, Kenya Airways was also given approval to resume 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on the Lilongwe-Lusaka sector. The rights were revoked last year by Government after Kenya Airways was found "to be operating the flight without a required agreement with Air Malawi (QM)," though other sources speculate as to the unwelcome competition KQ presented Air Malawi on the route, its only profitable one at the time.
I am pleased to convey Government approval for your operations into Chileka Airport, Blantyre, and the exercise of 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on the Lilongwe-Lusaka sector effective 3rd June, 2013,” read the letter in part. 
The approval of the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights follows an MoU signed between the Kenya and Malawi governments in 2008 which allows collaborative arrangements between designated carriers of both countries for their mutual benefit. Kenya Airways will be the sole operator on the  route while Air Malawi is busy readying itself for a relaunch in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.