By Donata Mpochela
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) says the recent resumption of international flights will help to unlock trade and tourism and resuscitate Malawi’s economy currently on its knees due to the effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
DCA Spokesperson James Chakwera told Mining & Trade Review that the opening of airports after being shut down for some months as a Covid-19 prevention measure will assist in reviving businesses as it will enable people and cargo to move through air transport.
“We all know that transportation is the backbone of development and we anticipate that the opening will fuel trade for the development of the country, henceforth, the economy will gradually recover and thrive again,” said Chakwera.
He said the department has introduced various health security measures to all arriving passengers who are required to have a negative result on Covid-19 tests taken within ten days of their travel.
“At the Airport, we have been checking temperatures for the travelers and we also follow all Covid-19 hygienic measures and only passengers and airport workers who follow the measures are allowed to enter terminal buildings,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera said they have not had any challenges in implementing the measures so far but they require more resources so that they can continue providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to workers and various amenities to the travelling public.
Airport Police Public Spokesperson Sapulain Chitonde commented that since the security section did not close at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, security staff have been doing a lot of training sessions during the Covid-19 shut down period on the security measures to be employed when flights resume.
Chitonde said: “This has been our first experience but as to the security section we did not remain adamant but our security was always up with trainings to deal with all crimes at the airport and to enforce all Covid-19 preventive measures put in place by the Ministry,” said Chitonde.
“The re-opening of the airport has both negative and positive impacts to our security as we are very aware that they are a lot of disgruntled people in town who are in possession of dangerous materials.
“As for the Airport Police Branch, we can assure Malawians that KIA will remain a no go zone for bad people.”