Two new airlines start operations in Malawi


Two new airlines have launched in Malawi with the aim of improving the accessibility to the country’s tourism and commercial centres.

Ulendo Airlink serves five mostly tourist destinations but is also available for private charters. It flies Cessna 210, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and Dornier 228 aircraft, but plans to take delivery of an Embraer 120 in January next year.

Ulendo Airlink is the trading name for Nyasa Express, a joint venture between Malawi’s Ulendo travel Group, represented by Rob McDonaghy and CFA Air Charters based at Grand Central Airport in South Africa. The airline is 51% Malawian owned and makes use of the technical knowledge and experience of CFA.

Ulendo Airlink received the required licenses from the Ministry of Transport in April and said it commenced operations in July using a Grand Caravan.
“By working closely with key operators already established in the aviation sector, and the department of Civil Aviation, we believe Malawi’s air transportation network will grow to meet the needs of both corporate and leisure travellers alike,” the company said in a statement.

The company said its business model has been developed “to demonstrate to both international and local travellers that reliable, safe and professional commercial air services can be delivered in Malawi on a sustainable and financially sound basis.”

Meanwhile, Swift Air, based in Lilongwe, commenced operations in April with a single 19 seat Hawker Beechcraft 1900D, but will receive another four of the type at a later date. The airline currently flies to Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Karonga.
“Our Goal is to link Malawian business hubs and tourist destinations to each other,” the airline said.

According to the Malawi Nation, Swift Air was launched by African Flying Boats with a pledge to invest nearly K3 billion (US$20 million) in the new venture over the next two years.

Swift Air hopes to introduce two amphibious aircraft to fly passengers to remote Lake Malawi beach resorts. “The amphibian planes will be the jewel in our crown. We are planning to have one flying boat, which is a complete amphibian plane capable of landing on water,” said Swift Air CEO Louise Hahn-Perepeczko. Swift Air also plans to introduce three to four floatplanes.