- An international airliner grouping, the International Air Transport Association, has suspended Air Malawi from the association for non payment of an undisclosed amount of money.
Air Malawi’s chief executive Wisdom Mchungula confirmed the suspension but said it was only for a day.
“This [the suspension] happens when you don’t pay money. We owed IATA some money but we have since paid them. We were only suspended for a day or so. It is not big news,” said Mchungula, playing down the issue.
But he refused to disclose how much Air Malawi owed IATA, saying: “I think some of the issues are corporate issues, they are not meant for publication in newspapers. The big news is that Air Malawi has paid back the money.”
Sources in the airline industry said the suspension meant that Air Malawi was not paying money to other airlines after clients bought tickets through the local airliner.
“This means that Air Malawi cannot be used as an agent for ticket buying and this can cause huge inconveniences to travellers. This is a very sad situation,” said the source.
Mchungula said Air Malawi has been a member of IATA for 40 years and said this is not the first time that the state airliner has been suspended.
“This happens in the airline industry. What is the news here, there is no news, absolutely,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nyasa Express, the first private commercial airliner in the country, used lawyers to force Air Malawi pay a debt accumulated after Air Malawi leased two aircrafts from Nyasa Express.
Nyasa Express Managing Director, Rob McConaghy confirmed in an interview that Air Malawi owed Nyasa Express some money.
“Yes, that is true but Air Malawi has since paid. They leased our two aircrafts when theirs had problems,” said McConaghy.
But McConaghy refused to disclose how much Air Malawi owed his company, saying it is a private issue.
Mchungula confirmed that his airliner owed Nyasa Express some money. “We used Nyasa Express aircrafts and there were terms of agreement of payment. Organisations owe other organisations money, it is normal in business. It’s a business transaction. We have good relationship with Nyasa Express,” said Mchungula.
Nyasa Express has since closed all its aviation operations in the country because the government has restricted the airline’s operations to the domestic market.
McConaghy blamed the Ministry of Transport and Public Works for refusing to issue the airliner with Air Service Permits.
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