Malawian Airlines is the product of the bankrupt Air Malawi and the investment of Ethiopian Airlines into a national airline. Malawi is not exactly a huge country, so the fleet size of the airline is just two planes so far. Ethiopian loaned the airline a Bombardier Q400 and a somewhat aging 737-700. Malawian Airlines serves the two airports in Malawi (Blantyre and Lilongwe) and a number of eastern African destinations from there.
The facilities at both of the Malawian airports can only be described as very basic, but given the friendly and rather organized style of Malawians, they both work well. For instance, one has a Star Alliance Gold business class lounge and it does not look like much but it has fast WiFi, drinks, some food and is cooled down well. The check-in area is really basic too, but the staff manage the small crowds really well. Security is almost on a first-name basis and works fast.
The airports allow you to walk out right on to the apron to the aircraft which is fast and requires minimal bureaucracy. All three flights we took were perfectly on time and seemed to be run by an Ethiopian crew. The flight attendants were professional and never bossy and there was a quick drinks service on all flights (each of these flights lasts around an hour).
The planes did appear to have a good amount of history but never seemed to be the standard that Boeing or Bombardier recommend.
Not surprisingly, flying with Malawian Airlines was much like flying Ethiopian Airlines – an efficient and no-frills service and creaky airports but a rather easy transit.
Malawian Airlines fares come up on ethiopianairlines.com and through most GDS systems (piggybacking off the Ethiopian license). To my surprise, I got 100% miles on my Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles account for each flight.