Blantyre Runway Closure Affects SAA Operations


The closure of the main runway at the Chileka International Airport in Blantyre, Malawi from 24 April to 24 July 2019 is set to affect South African Airways (SAA) operations.

The aircraft size that SAA operates to Blantyre, does not fit in the required categories or classes of the secondary runway, which will remain operational for the duration of the rehabilitation works.

Accordingly, the airline’s operations to Blantyre have been cancelled, for Wednesday, 24 April 2019 and Saturday, 27 April 2019.

However, contingency plans have been put in place for smaller aircraft, operated by SA Express to operate this route, with the exception of the Wednesday and Saturday flights.

“We have implemented contingency plans by using the SA Express’ Q400 turbo prop aircraft to continue with SAA’s schedule operations with the exception of the 24th and 27th April 2019, whereon no scheduled operation will be available to/from Blantyre.

“We apologise to our valued passengers and customers for the inconvenience caused by these cancellations,” says Tlali Tlali, SAA Spokesperson.

SAA’s service between Johannesburg and Blantyre runs three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Single Cabin Compensation 

“The nature of the aircraft deployed during the rehabilitation of the runway will be a single cabin aircraft. In the light of this change, SAA has decided to compensate all passengers who had purchased tickets to travel in the premium cabin. The decision was based on the nature of the offering in the single cabin aircraft and in accordance with our compensation policy,” says Tlali.

Other customers will be re-accommodated to Lilongwe, as these operations are unaffected. These passengers will have an option of reconnecting from Lilongwe for onward travel by air or ground transport.  

Un-ticketed passengers:

All passengers that have not been ticketed will be rebooked onto the next available flight.

Ticketed Individual passengers and groups

Rebooking Conditions Applicable:

  • SAA will rebook affected passengers onto the operation between Johannesburg and Blantyre, where applicable;
  • Re-accommodation of reservations has been made by South African Airways onto the closest available flight between Johannesburg and Blantyre in the same booking class.
  • Change fees will be waivered
  • Tickets must be re-issued on/before 07 May 2019. The booking owner may re-issue the ticket.
  • Tickets to be endorsed “INVOL Re-RRT due BLZ RUNWAY Closure/Date”.
  • A full refund of the unused portion/ticket will only be considered once the aforementioned options have been considered.



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