The European Investment Bank has agreed to support the EUR 44 million (30 billion Malawi Kwacha) investment programme to improve aviation safety at the two main airports in the landlocked southern African state of Malawi.
A EUR 21 million (14 billion Malawi Kwacha) loan from Europe’s long-term lending institution was formally agreed in Lilongwe today by Carmelo Cocuzza, European Investment Bank regional representative for Southern Africa and Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development for the Republic of Malawi.
The new initiative represents one of the first public sector projects to be supported by the EIB in the country since 2008.
Under the new initiative new safety and security equipment will be provided to improve aviation security at Lilongwe’s airport at Kamazu and Blantyre’s airport at Chileka. The scheme will also address technical issues highlighted by recent safety audits of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, as well as helping to ensure that Malawi can comply with international safety standards in the future.
“Ensuring passenger and airline safety at Malawi’s main airports at Lilongwe and Blantyre is essential for the landlocked country. The new investment programme will help ensure passenger safety and benefit business and tourist travellers in the years ahead. This new project represents the European Investment Bank’s first engagement in the aviation sector in Malawi and demonstrates our broader commitment to help improve transport infrastructure essential for regional economic development across southern Africa. Our support is strengthened by technical assistance provided by the European Union Delegation in Lilongwe to the Malawi Department Civil Aviation and implemented by the European Air Safety Agency. The European Investment Bank has a strong track record of supporting aviation investment across Africa and around the world. We are pleased that today we can start a new era of support for investment in this crucial sector in Malawi.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.
Using the EIB financing agreed today the airport safety initiative is expected to include acquisition of new ambulances and fire engines, as well as construction of a new fire station at Chileka airport. Essential safety will be further improved by the provision of new rescue equipment, installation of specialist metrological monitoring and wind measurement equipment, improved x-ray screening for baggage and cargo, and better airport approach and airfield lighting. Overall security of the two airports will be strengthened with better perimeter fencing and installation of closed circuit television. Once the project is complete aircraft using Chileka will for the first time benefit from an Instrument Landing System.
Approval of the new loan follows detailed assessment of safety related investment needs at the two airports by European Investment Bank’s technical staff experienced in supporting aviation investment at airports around the world. Investment to improve safety at the two airports will not only create jobs during implementation, but provide long-term economic benefits across Malawi and ensure compliance with international aviation standards essential to guarantee use of the airports by international airlines.
“The EU’s programme, which is being implemented through the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), will provide technical assistance and specialist training for staff involved in airport safety. This support will help the aviation sector to improve the enabling environment to ensure safety as well as to provide reliable and efficient aviation services. Ultimately this will facilitate expansion of trade and tourism both of which are important areas for the future development of Malawi.” said Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann, Head of the European Union Delegation to Malawi.
Financial support for the aviation safety scheme will also be provided by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of Malawi.
The European Investment Bank has considerable technical and financial experience supporting airport investment around the world and has provided EUR 12.5 billion for new airports and airport upgrading in the last decade. This has included upgrading regional airports in Tanzania, improving safety at Maputo airport in Mozambique and investment in air traffic control in Madagascar and West Africa, as well as investments at Heathrow Terminal 5, Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt and Paris airports.
In 2014 the European Investment Bank provided more than EUR 2.5 billion to support infrastructure and private sector investment across Africa.