January 03, 2020: Chileka International Airport in Blantyre, Malawi has been re-opened for big aircraft from January 2.
Minister of transport and public works Ralph Jooma visited the airport in December who promised the public that he had been assured by the construction contractor to complete the rehabilitation of the main runway by January, as reported by Nyasa Times.
The rehabilitation works of the runway, which developed cracks and was a challenge for landing aircraft, cost government over K4 billion.
When he visited the airport, Jooma had said he is impressed with the rehabilitation works, which started in April 2019 and was expected to be completed by July but the deadline was later shifted to August, then to November and again extended to December 31.
Following the closure of the main runway, big aircraft have not been landing at the airport with only small planes ferrying Blantyre bound passengers to Chileka who had landed at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.
“Flying to Blantyre is becoming very inconveniencing as you have to fly through Lilongwe where you also spend unnecessary hours for nothing. A project scheduled for one month but it has been months and months now. Also, when is the X-ray scanning machine going to be fixed? Manually searching people and bags are not very effective,” he said.