, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – National carrier Kenya Airways is set to commence direct flights to Blantyre, making it the airline’s second destination in Malawi after the capital Lilongwe.
Starting August 2, the airline will introduce three flights a week to Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city that doubles up as its commercial hub.
Currently, Kenya Airways flies 10 times every week to Lilongwe.
Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Titus Naikuni, said that the new route was part of the airline’s efforts to open up the African continent and contribute towards sustainable development in Africa.
“We want to grow our network on the continent and fly to every African city with the right level of capacity and frequency. The airline targets to fly to every African capital by 2016,” he said.
The flights to Blantyre, which will be operated by E190 aircraft, will depart from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1145 hours, arriving at the Chileka Airport in Blantyre at 1325 hours.
The return flight will leave Blantyre at 1415 hours to arrive in Nairobi at 1800 hours.
The Malawian government granted approval for Kenya Airways to operate flights into Blantyre in April, besides agreeing to resumption of the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on the Lilongwe-Lusaka sector.
The rights on this route allow Kenya Airways to pick up passengers in Lusaka and drop them in Lilongwe and vice versa.
The approval of the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Kenyan and Malawian governments in 2008 and allows collaborative arrangements between designated carriers of both countries for their mutual benefit.