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Kenya Airways reduces flights to Lilongwe

The continued unavailability of foreign exchange in Malawi has again disrupted business for another airline, Kenya Airways, as the company is stuck with the local currency and failed to remit the revenue back to Nairobi.

According to our sources, the development has led to the reduction of Kenya Airways flights to Lilongwe from 10 to 2 per week and an immediate suspension of air ticket sales in Lilongwe.

The development has raised fears of job losses from the company and loss of business and jobs to travel agents, which deal with the airline.

"Flights can no longer get many passengers from Malawi as was the case earlier because now people are being told to pay for their tickets using US dollars or Kenyan shillings as the company is stuck with Malawian kwacha's which it cannot remit back to its headquarters in Nairobi," said the source.

These developments are confirmed in Kenya Airways, code named KQ, tariffs notice number 02-03-12 in The Daily Times possession.

"This is to bring to your attention that with immediate effect KQ has suspended sales in Malawi until further notice. You are therefore requested not to make any booking or issue tickets in Malawi to be utilised on KQ's services.

"Please note tickets can be sold from any other point of sales outside Malawi for travel to start in Malawi e.g. PTA's /e-tickets," the notice reads in part.

Kenya Airways Country Manager for Malawi Ruth Maweu requested for more time to respond to a questionnaire sent to her on Monday.

As it stands, Malawians intending to travel by Kenya airways now have to book their tickets online and pay using credit card or travel to the nearest point of sale outside the country.

This development is coming barely two weeks after Ethiopian Airlines started refusing bookings using Malawi currency, thereby denying their services to passengers with no unfamiliar currency.

Ethiopian Airlines also reduced flights into Malawi to six per week from daily; as it used to previously.

The Malawi economy is in a crisis due to forex shortages.

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