Some airlines, including Ethiopian Airways and Kenyan Airways, cancelled their flights into Lilongwe Wednesday following the closure of the Kamuzu International Airport due to the on-going public workers’ strike in Malawi.
Stranded travellers were simply told “there are no flights”.
“I was supposed to be in Nairobi today but I will have to spend another night in Lilongwe,” said a British national.
Chileka International Airport was also closed.
Meanwhile, President Joyce Banda is scheduled to fly out of Chileka International Airport Thursday morning to attend the Africa—South America Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Eliah Kamphinda Banda, president of the Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU), said the airports would remain closed for as long as government does not respond positively to their demands.
“Government has not answered us yet so we can’t tell how long the strike will last,” he said.
Government spokesman Moses Kunkuyu told a press conference in Lilongwe Wednesday that government had made “an offer” to the civil servants.
“The civil service leadership will meet with the government negotiating team tomorrow to discuss the offer,” he said.
Kunkuyu, who is also Information Minister, could, however, not specify what percentage government was offering the civil servants but Finance Minister Ken Lipenga said Tuesday government could not afford the 67 per cent pay hike the public workers were demanding.
The civil servants say last May’s 49 per cent devaluation of the Malawi currency, the kwacha, has eaten deep into their buying power.