Malawi Airlines (3W, Lilongwe) has announced the resumption of full network operations effective mid-June 2021 after its shareholders – the Malawi government and Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa International) – agreed to recapitalise the technically insolvent flag carrier.

While the sum of recapitalisation was not mentioned, the airline’s board of directors, in a statement, welcomed the shareholders’ “timely decision to bail out the national airline, effectively allowing the company to resume flights to destinations such as Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Lusaka (Zambia), and Harare International (Zimbabwe) from mid-June".

The statement, signed by Chairman George Partridge, confirmed the board, during a meeting on March 25, had declared the airline technically insolvent and had recommended an orderly winding down of the company to the shareholders.

Partridge said the airline's state had resulted from it not having flown for seven months due to local and international COVID-19 lockdowns while still having had to have honoured significant fixed cost obligations. As previously reported, the carrier had cumulative losses of MWK14.09 billion kwacha (USD17.86 million) against total debts of MWK13.83 billion (USD17.54 million) as of February 2021.

According to FlightRadar24 ADS-B data, the Ethiopian Airlines B737-700 that was wet-leased to Malawian Airlines, ET-ARB (msn 30687), returned to Lilongwe on May 19 after having undergone "extended maintenance" in Addis Ababa International. It has since been operating from Blantyre to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and Lilongwe.

Local media earlier reported Ethiopian Airlines had "technically withdrawn" the B737-700 and a DHC-8-Q400 it provided to Malawi Airlines.

The airline has been advertising an extended Johannesburg flight schedule on its social media pages, reflecting six flights per week between Lilongwe and Johannesburg, and Johannesburg and Blantyre.

Malawi Airlines is 51% owned by the Malawi government and 49% by Ethiopian Airlines.