- Malawi's deputy minister of transport, public works and housing, Roy Comsy, has announced today that country's privatisation commission (PC) was finalising terms to sell 49 percent of Air Malawi to a British Airways-owned Comair firm for a mere US$3, 500.
Mr Comsy said Comair's deal with Malawian government also includes an irrevocable option to increase prospective buyer's stakes to 80 percent.
"What we are waiting for now is for commission to finalise final paper deal before airline is handed over to new managers," he said.
Initially, he said, Comair wanted 80 percent of Air Malawi but government insisted on retaining 51 percent shares of airliner.
PC chief executive officer, Jimmy Lipunga, said he could only respond to "The Nation's questionnaire on sale and justification" of amount today.
According to sources, Air Malawi staff met on Friday at company's headquarters in Blantyre after reports of an impending lay-off of all ground staff.
Some employees who attended Friday meeting, reportedly said company's union told staff that they would be retrenched except for cabin crew members.
But Air Malawi CEO, Wisdom Mchungula, expressed ignorance on development, saying he was not informed of any progress on sale.
"We have not been officially told anything. Maybe this afternoon or this week we will be told," Mr Mchungula said.
"But as I am in management, I am not able to follow what they were discussing," he said.
People's Progressive Movement (PPM)'s president Aleke Banda, who spoke against sale of airline in House of Parliament yesterday said it would be a huge mistake for government to dispose off Air Malawi in a hurry.
"It is important to preserve some of national assets. Actually, government should do everything possible to save airline. I know of countries that are regretting their decisions to dispose their airlines in a hurry," Mr Banda said.
Air Malawi Limited was established by an Act of Parliament in 1967 following dissolution of Central African Airways which comprised Northern and Southern Rhodesia. Central African Airways, through this development, split into Zambia Airways, Air Zimbabwe and Nyasaland Airways (Air Malawi).
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