Chiming well with our item of 11th April on AFRAA and desirable African local carrier developments ,Edmundo Sales provides a newspaper article from Malawi announcing the launch of a new Lilongwe based airline, Swift Air. The owner is given as African Flying Boats.
Equipped initially with a single Beech 1900D, with four more planned to follow,the company is to operate twice daily Lilongwe/Blantyre/Lilongwe and twice weekly on the northern route Lilongwe/Mzuzu/Kargona. Particularly if common timings can be achieved these will be a welcome addition to Air Malawi's offerings.
Two further developments are planned. One is a cross border service to Lusaka, Zambia via Mfue service. Mfue is the airfield for the superb unfenced South Luangwa National Park which amongst a host of other attractions, offers visitors the the best chance in Africa of seeing a leopard in the wild. The second is a (Grumman?) amphibian service between Lilongwe and Blantyre and the relatively small and understated Lake Malawi beach resorts. Suitably linked, these could give Central Africa a unique high-end safari and beach combination very different to East Africa's familar product.
Historically, amphibian services have for various reasons including costs, spares availability and training often been problematical so it will be interesting to see if they work in this environment or whether a reversion to a conventional landplane operation turns out to be a better bet. The first hurdle though for any startup is to get up and running, to avoid running out of working capital before profitability kicks in ,and to keep ahead of the cashflow tsunami. We wish Swift Air well.