Lilongwe Airport
Lumbadzi, Lilongwe, Malawi

Malawi Air Travel Outlook

Published on: May 27, 2024

Air transport in Malawi has been on a positive trajectory despite its precarious structure and the challenges facing it.  For Instance, (during Pre Covid-19) in 2019, total passenger traffic reached 510,000 excluding transit passengers with KIA representing 71% while Chileka (CIA) accounted for 28% of total passengers. The remaining 1% of traffic was for Likoma, Mzuzu, Club Makokola, and Liwonde aerodromes. 

The COVID-19 crisis, however, severely affected Malawi’s air traffic just as it had done to global aviation. In 2020, total traffic decreased by 75% for both Kamuzu and Chileka (against 2019) while domestic traffic decreased by 86% and international traffic by 71%.  Of late, there has been substantial growth in the aviation sector broadly, and a significant demand for domestic air travel in particular. About 310,000 passengers were handled at KIA in 2023 compared to 270,000 in 2022.  Chileka handled about 145,000 in 2023 from 120,000 in 2022.

With the current trend, KIA and CIA are likely to surpass the Precovid-19 era in the next three years and within seven years be able to achieve the optimal passenger number of 1 million at KIA to fully self-sustained operations. International transit passengers on Malawi Airlines have grown by about 65% at KIA and CIA. Domestic passenger traffic through KIA and CIA has grown about 70% in 2023 as air transport is becoming a major reliable mode of transport, particularly for business travelers.

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