Malawian Airlines (Lilongwe, Malawi) introduced Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) turboprop service on January 31 between Lilongwe and Blantyre. Malawian Airlines launched domestic and international flights with a dual-class DHC-8-402 (Q400) (ET-AQB, man 4419) leased from co-owner Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa).
The domestic route was extended internationally to Harare, Zimbabwe on February 3 with ET-AQB.
The new airline is also planning to add a Boeing 737-800.
Founded in July 2013, Malawian Airlines is a public-private partnership between the Government of Malawi, Ethiopian Airlines and Malawian institutional and individual investors.
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Ethiopian Airlines later issued this statement:
Ethiopian Airlines is pleased to announce that its strategic partner for the southern Africa region, Malawian Airlines, has launched its first international flight to Johannesburg on February 17, 2014.
Malawian will operate daily from Lilongwe to Johannesburg, with a stopover in Blantyre, with a brand new Boeing 737-800 with Sky Interior and a 154 seat capacity configured in two classes, Business and Economy.
As part of its strategy to set up multiple hubs in Africa in line with its 15 year strategic roadmap, Vision 2025, Ethiopian has partnered with the Malawian Government and private interests in the country to establish Malawian Airlines in Lilongwe. Ethiopian has 49% equity stake as well as the technical and management contract for the new airline. Lilongwe is now the 3rd hub of Ethiopian for Southern Africa region, after Lomé, which has been serving for the last 4 years as a hub for the West African region thru a partnership with ASKY Airlines.