Kenya Airways says passengers stranded in Malawi to travelling to South Africa can still use the airline but via Nairobi to OR Tambo Airport in Joburg.
The development comes at a time when the business sector and the general travelling public has complained of over-booked and unavailable air travel options to South Africa since the suspension of Air Malawi flights in November last year.
In reaction, the Economic Empowerment Action Group (EEAG) said much as the route provides an option for entrepreneurs, it could be viable if air ticket costs can be negotiated to manageable levels.
Responding to a questionnaire on Wednesday, Kenya Airways Country Manager for Malawi Ruth Maweu said the company has some solutions for those flying to South Africa.
"For stranded passengers, they can fly via Nairobi as we offer 10 weekly flights out of Lilongwe with perfect connections into Johannesburg.
"This includes three night flights that only have two hours connection time in Nairobi which is fantastic," said Maweu.
She, however, said Kenya Airways cannot fly direct to South Africa as it has not been given as an immediate point by the Bilateral Air Service Agreement between the governments of Kenya and Malawi.
"Therefore, it's not possible for Kenya Airways to fly directly to South Africa from Malawi, rather has to go through its hub Nairobi.
"However, we welcome any move by the government in allowing us to do so, Kenya Airways will gladly step in and serve the traveling public by offering a direct product," Maweu said.
But in an interview on Wednesday EEAG president Louis Chiwalo said the option by Kenya Airways can be relevant if entrepreneurs consider time and costs involved.
"Because of the pressure on the route, this would be acceptable only if it makes business sense that time and air ticket including baggage costs is negotiable.
"But still we feel Air Malawi's planes must be brought back into operation because their absence has shown that air business is there on this one route and the airline's shareholder must also seriously consider buying new aircraft to utilise this business potential which is also a forex earning avenue," Chiwalo said.
Air Malawi said it is expected to resume its flights to Johannesburg as its newly leased Boeing aircraft would be in the country this week.