Airport Reopening Faces COVID-19 Challenges

Government reopened the Kamuzu International Airport on 1st September Government reopened the Kamuzu International Airport on 1st September - file photo

Government has admitted it faced challenges to enforce some of COVID-19 preventive measures at the airports a fortnight after reopening.

Director of Civil Aviation in the Ministry of Transport, James Chakwera, says they were overwhelmed by number of passengers seeking the air service, hence the challenges.

“The first flight that we had of Ethiopian airlines 220 passengers coming in and went away with more than 300 passengers out of Malawi. “It was just responding to expectations that people had been looking for these services.

“In handling the flights we were overwhelmed because of the numbers that I have mentioned. We tried to make sure that all the passengers are following all the protocols in regard to COVID-19.

“We experienced some long queues; some social distance was not properly observed, but we took it as learning ground and we should note all the areas where we had problems and going forward we should making sure that those problems are rectified,” he said.

Chakwera added that they are looking into options of increasing flights as currently, only Kenyan and Ethiopians are the only ones operating.

Malawi reopened Kamuzu International Airport on 1st September after a long closure owing to COVID-19 pandemic.

He said some of the additional flights may resume at least by next week.

"The moment we announced that we will be reopening the airports with one flight per week, we already received a request from Ethiopian Airlines to increase their flights. Of course they gave a valid reason. We are looking into that," he said.

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