Air Malawi

7Q-YKL 747SP AIR MALAWI c/n: 21133

Air Malawi was the state-owned national airline of Malawi until 2013 when flights were suspended because of its financial situation.

Code: QM : AML

Air Malawi only ever operated 1 x 747SP, and for a very short time. Only for Mr H. K. Banda’s state visit to London in 1985. 3 flights only.


On April 2:nd 1985 South African Airways rolled one of their 747SP’s into the hangar for repaint into Air Malawi colours. The aircraft was ZS-SPB c/n: 21133 and the work order is seen below.

South African work order for repainting into Air Malawi colours.

On April 11:th 1985 Air Malawi officially wet-leased 747SP ZS-SPB c/n: 21133 from South African. The aircraft was named: “Mulanje”.


The aircraft departed JNB – Johannesburg Airport on April 13:th as QM152 for it’s London state visit with Malawi president Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
But first it made a stop in AMS – Amsterdam Airport where it landed on the 14:th of April.



7Q-YKL AMS 14-4-1985
7Q-YKL seen being towed to remote after arrival. Photo: Lewis Grant
7Q-YKL (Air Malawi)
7Q-YKL seen parked remote at AMS. Photo: Reinhard Zinabold

It stayed in AMS for only 2 days, then departed for the short flight into LHR – London Heathrow Airport on April 16:th 1985.


Shortly after arrival at LHR on April 16, 1985. Photo: Richard Vandervoord
7Q-YKL Boeing B.747SP-44 Air Malawi
Aircraft was moved and parked at a very narrow area next to the road. This shot is taken from the airside by Chris Chennell
7Q-YKL Boeing 747SP-44 (21133/282) Air Malawi
This is spot where it rested during the stay. 7Q-YKL 747SP Air Malawi at LHR. Photo: Philip Hancock

The president, H. K. Banda was welcomed by the Queen and travelled in the state carriage from Windsor Home Park upon Dr Banda’s state visit to Britain

Photo: Getty Images

Then the aircraft was parked for nearly a month before it departed again on May 10:th 1985 for JNB – Johannesburg Airport.


They arrived in Johannesburg on May 11 at 12:50 local time.

7Q-YKL seen here on May 11 returning to JNB.


The aircraft was returned to South African Airways after the short lease the same day.
Interesting fact, the Air Malawi 747SP never was in Malawi (the country)

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Tommy Mogren
Tommy Mogren
Passion 4 Aviation and the 747SP in particular. Photographer and video producer. YouTube | Viking Wings

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