Wednesday, August 21, 2013

► MALAWI: Zimbabwe, Malawi sign revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement.

Malawi and Zimbabwe have announced the signing of a revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) that will see greater flexibility and freedom for each country's designatedcarriers. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the recent Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State Summit recently held in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Air Malawi's ATR42 on the ramp in Harare
Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, represented Zimbabwe while Malawian Minister of Transport and Public Works, Mr Muhammad Sidik Mia signed on behalf of his government.

According to Mr Mumbengegwi,  the signing of the agreement will create capacity demand and allow greater market access to support growth and competition in the aviation sector. For his part, Mr Mia stated that the development is in line with SADC's vision of promoting regional integration.

At this point in time, the BASA's signing is largely moot given that neither country currently operates flights to the other. While Air Zimbabwe (UM) has mentioned plans to resume regional operations in the near future, no actual announcement regarding set timetables has been made. Air Malawi (QM) was the last scheduled operator to serve the Blantyre/Lilongwe - Harare route prior to its winding up earlier in the year. Its successor, Malawi Airlines, has noted Harare as being among its future launch destinations.