SAA announces contingency plans for Blantyre route

Friday, April 26, 2019

South African Airways (SAA) is offering its customers alternative travel arrangements to Malawi following the closure of the runway at Chileka International Airport.

In a statement on Thursday, SAA said it will facilitate travel via Lilongwe for onward connection to Blantyre.

“This is intended to avoid any service disruptions and is part of contingency plans to re-accommodate customers via Lilongwe.  SAA customers will travel between Johannesburg and Lilongwe on SAA operated aircraft and further to/from Blantyre with Ethiopian Airlines.”

The runway of the airport located in Blantyre was closed on Wednesday for maintenance purposes, while the secondary runway remains operational for the duration of the works. The secondary runway is being used for arrivals and departures of aircraft of appropriate categories/classes.

Airport authorities notified SAA that the main runway will remain closed until 23 July 2019.

SAA operates three weekly services between Johannesburg and Blantyre (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays). The aircraft size, which SAA operates to Blantyre, does not fit in the required categories/classes of the secondary runway.

The national carrier, which earlier in the week announced the cancellation of several flights, on Thursday apologised to its customers for the inconvenience caused.

“We will continue to look for ways to minimise the impact of operational changes to offer more travel convenience for customers,” it said.

SAA customers travelling to/from Lilongwe on SAA-operated aircraft can enjoy business class, subject to availability, as SAA will be operating the A320/A319 on this route, which offers business and economy products.

All passengers that have not been ticketed will be rebooked onto the next available flight under the following conditions:

  • SAA will rebook affected passengers between Johannesburg and Lilongwe.
  • SAA has made re-accommodation of reservations onto the closest available flight between Johannesburg and Lilongwe in the same booking class.
  • The booking owner can book ET between LLW and BLZ in the lowest available 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. Customers can also contact the SAA contact centre in South Africa on (011) 978 1111 or 0861 606 606 and in Blantyre on +265 1820 991. -