Japan hands over K2.5bn airport ground support equipment to Malawi

The state-of-the-art equipment

By Leonard Masauli, MANA

Lilongwe Handling Company (LIHACO) is expected to improve its effectiveness and efficiency of operations following a donation from the Japanese government of a K2.5 billion airport ground support equipment.


At the handover ceremony held on Thursday at Kamuzu International Airport, Japanese Ambassador, Satoshi Iwakiri said the procurement of the equipment was part of a project meant to expand the terminal building at the airport, among other support services.

The Ambassador noted that the state-of-the-art equipment would improve effectiveness and efficiency of operations — such as management of airplanes, cargo and passengers, especially those with special needs.

“We are here to witness another milestone achieved in our cooperation in the air transport sector achieved through the procurement of various ground support equipment worth approximately, 300 million Japanese Yen (K2.5 billion).

“It is my hope, the equipment will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations and how you manage cargo and passengers, especially those with special needs.”

The official handover

Iwakiri has since asked the Lilongwe Handling Company to provide necessary care and maintenance for the equipment in order to sustain the effective and efficient operations.

Minister of Transport Jacob Hara thanked the government of Japan, through the Ambassador, saying the grant is timely since the airport was lacking essential equipment for day-to-day operations.

“The equipment will go a long way to improve operations at the airport as, among others, enables loading and offloading cargo to airplanes and this will further ensure that Malawi is able to handle even big aircraft that have not yet landed at the airport.

“As a country, we are looking at MW2063 agenda and this kind of development is in line with our plans to boost tourism and as a transport ministry.

“We are there to provide a good transport platform and be able to handle the visitors well and so the equipment will put Malawi on international standards.”

The Minister said apart from the ground support equipment, the Japanese government is also supporting the development of a masterplan that will guide the maintenance of Chileka Airport, whose progress has delayed.  

Hara added that the deplorable state of the airport terminal buildings possibly requires new construction.

LIHACO Board chairperson, Gift Nankhuni added credence that the equipment would address huge challenges in cargo handling.

The equipment includes ambulift, air-start unit, towing tractor, tow bar, boom lift and cargo high loader — which shall be used for loading and offloading aviation containers for cargo airplanes.

Apart from the equipment, the Japanese government has also invested in the construction of new terminal building, rehabilitation of the passenger terminal, procurement and installation of equipment such as aircraft surveillance system at KIA.