Saturday, January 13, 2018

No Malta International Airshow this year

The Malta Aviation Society (MAS) will not be organising the Malta International Airshow this year.  The Society has written to the Minister of Tourism a few hours after the end of last year’s airshow asking for guidance and commitment to future editions of this successful international event. 

Notwithstanding a clear explanation of why such guidance and commitment was required urgently, coupled with another email sent to the same Minister a few days ago, there has been absolutely no reply from the Ministry.  This leaves MAS with no option but to abandon any preparations for the event to take place this year. 

MAS hopes there will be future editions of the Malta International Airshow and is always prepared to offer its totally-voluntary work towards this event subject to a commitment by the Government to financially sustain the airshow after the agreed move to a seaside show. 

The move was triggered by the authorities to which the Society agreed, subject to financial compensation due to loss of income from gate money that the airshow used to generate when it was held at the airport.  (Source: maltairshow.com, 13-Jan-2018)

M.I.A. plc releases 2017 traffic results and 2018 forecasts

Malta IAP today presented its traffic forecast for 2018, revealing that it expects to register further growth in the coming year to reach a total of 6.5 million passengers.

Presented at the airport’s yearly traffic results press conference, this forecast comes hot on the heels of Malta IAP’s announcement that it had reached its 6 millionth passenger milestone, thus breaking all previous traffic records.  2017 was brought to a close with 6,014,548 passenger movements, translating into an impressive upturn of 17.5% over 2016, and establishing 2017 as the fastest-growing year.

Thriving passenger numbers were observed in parallel with an increase of 15% in aircraft movements and an 18% growth in seat capacity.  In spite of this increase in the number of seats available, the seat load factor for the year still stood at a healthy 82.4%, in line with the observed European trend.

Malta IAP’s top drivers of traffic for 2017 were the U.K. (+8.9%), Italy (+14.8%), Germany (+20.9%), France (+20.6%), and Belgium (+109.2%).

"While our performance in 2017 may appear difficult to top, our forecast indicates that we can look ahead to another promising year, provided that hard work, investment, and service excellence continue to shape the way." said Malta IAP CEO A. Borg.

It was also highlighted that all months had achieved double-digit growth for the first time in the airport’s records, auguring well for the strategy developed by Malta IAP, the Ministry for Tourism and the Malta Tourism Authority to promote Malta as a year-round tourist destination.

Mr Borg went on to say that the airport’s summer schedule for 2018 features no less than 16 new routes, bringing the airport’s destination network up to a 100.  Moreover, this schedule introduces for the first time flights to Portugal, a long sought-after destination.  This development stems from the recent efforts of the traffic development Malta IAP and the respective government entities to establish a link with this previously unserved destination.

Beyond traffic projections, 2018 promises to be a busy year in terms of infrastructure developments, as it will mark the completion of Malta IAP’s €12 million Terminal Reconfiguration Project.  

While most of the terminal improvements falling within phase 1 of this project have been delivered, the focus has now shifted to the Check-In Hall, which will be equipped with eight additional check-in desks and a new Baggage Handling System (BHS) by summer 2018.

During the press conference, it was also revealed that in the coming year M.I.A. will be investing another €8.8 million in terminal and airfield improvements, airport operations and security, and a new cargo village. (Source: maltairport.com, 12-Jan-2018)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Government company established to handle Air Malta’s landing slots in European airports

The Government has launched a new company to handle Air Malta's landing rights in European airports.  Tourism Minister Dr K. Mizzi said this step will give added value to the airline’s assets and will strengthen the national airline.

With a capital of €70 million, Malta Air Travel Ltd. has been established and will handle all landing rights for Air Malta aircraft at European airports and will in turn rent the slots to the national airline.

In a comment to tvm.com.mt, Minister Mizzi explained the reason behind this development.  He said the Government has determined to establish that Air Malta becomes the airline of the Mediterranean region.  To do this, its fleet has to be increased as well as its destinations and including crew complements.  Various strategies have been studied and singled out the need of creating a new company to assume responsibility for landing rights and slots in European airports currently being handled by Air Malta.

Asked by tvm.com.mt whether this means it will result in reducing the value of the national airline, the Minister did not agree.  He said the reality is that the slots held by Air Malta are not actually documented in its accounts because these are not tangible in financial terms.  As a result of this development these slots have now been given a value that can be reflected in accounts.  This will enable Air Malta to increase its resources and its fleet because it will enable greater investment to achieve its strategy. (Source: tvm.com.mt, 10-Jan-2018)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Wizz Air announces Vienna as its new base, new route Vienna-Malta from June 2018

Wizz Air today announced that it would add Austria as the 44th country in its network, by establishing base operations at Vienna airport.  

Wizz Air will open its Austrian base with one Airbus A320 aircraft in June, which will be followed by the deployment of two additional Airbus A321 aircraft in November. This fast growth of Wizz Air’s Vienna base will see the airline operate a total of 17 new routes from the Austrian capital in 2018.

Wizz Air plans to operate 17 new routes from the Austrian capital this year for both business and leisure travellers, connecting Vienna with Gdansk, Tuzla and Varna from April.  Bari, Malta, Rome, Valencia and Tel Aviv follow in June, with destinations including Bergen, Dortmund and Tenerife then added in November. (Source: aviationtribune.com, 9-Jan-2018)

Passengers hurt as Ryanair's Liverpool-Malta flight hits turbulence

A Ryanair Boeing B737-800 (EI-ENY), performing flight FR-8928 from Liverpool (U.K.) to Malta IAP, has encountered turbulence while flying at FL390 60-NM south of Milan (Italy) this evening.  This prompted the crew to lower the aircraft rapidly to FL350, then climbed back to FL370 and continued the flight to Malta.  The aircraft landed normaly at 2305lt.  Five passengers were assessed at the airport by medics, two passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries. (Source: avherald.com & flightradar24.com; 9-Jan-2018)

Air Malta with new route between Catania and Vienna

As part of the government strategy for Air Malta to become the airline of the Mediterranean, from next week the national airline will start flying twice a week between Catania and Vienna.  In this way it will be filling a void left by the Austrian airline Fly Niki which was operating the route up until mid-December.

Air Malta considers the route between Catania and Vienna as a profitable one which can help it to expand and grow.  Presented by the opportunity to operate a direct flight between the two cities, after the low-cost airline Fly Niki declared bankruptcy, Air Malta took the opportunity to step in, with the first flight scheduled for Friday Jan. 19th.  

Tourism Minister K. Mizzi explained that both the crew, as well as the plane operating this route, will still be based in Malta.  Minister Mizzi said that "a strong demand exists between Sicily and Vienna which at the moment is not being serviced as it should so we therefore decided to start operating the Catania-Vienna flight twice a week." (Source: tvm.com.mt, 9-Jan-2018)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Air Malta to increase Malta-Comiso service to three flights in Summer 18

Air Malta in recent schedule update opened bookings for Malta-Comiso route, for travel on/after 25-Mar-18.  Initially launched as two weekly service on 17-Dec-17, summer schedule will see the airline adding a third weekly flight, including a new day-time departure.  All flights will be operated with Airbus A320s.

On Wednesdays:
KM-658 MLA 1335 – 1415 CIY 
KM-659 CIY 1500 – 1540 MLA 

On Fridays and Sundays:
KM-658 MLA 2045 – 2125 CIY
KM-659 CIY 2210 – 2250 MLA

(Source: routesonline.com, 5-Jan-2018)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Air Malta A319 preforms a precautionary priority landing upon arrival at Duesseldorf

An Air Malta Airbus A319-100 (9H-AEJ) operating flight KM-352 from Malta to Duesseldorf preformed a precautionary priority landing upon arrival at the airport today after a smell of fire was noticed in the passenger cabin.

In a statement, Air Malta said the aircraft was inspected in line with required procedures and a galley faulty oven fan was identified.
  
The decision was taken by the captain and flying crew to assure the safety of all 125 passengers on board and to minimise any discomfort to the passengers.

The return flight (KM-353) was delayed for some two hours while repairs were made.  It was then declared serviceable and re-departed to Malta. (Sources: maltatoday.com & timesofmalta.com, 3-Jan-2018)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Malta IAP welcomes its sixth millionth passenger on last day of 2017

On the last day of 2017, the mood at Malta IAP Airport became even more festive as the airport welcomed its six millionth passenger in a single year, topping all previous traffic records.  This means that annual traffic through Malta IAP has increased by almost one million passenger movements in just 12 months, making 2017 the fastest-growing year in the airport’s history.

"This is our most impressive achievement in terms of traffic growth, which will see Malta IAP register an increase of over 17% over last year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all industry stakeholders for working in close cooperation with us to make 2017 yet another remarkable year" said Malta IAP CEO, Mr A. Borg.

As part of the celebrations, the sixth millionth passenger was given a small memento of Malta to mark the occasion.  Ms M. Fastner arrived in Malta on flight KM353 from Düsseldorf on Sunday, Dec. 31st. (Source: maltairport.com, 1-Jan-2018)

Friday, December 29, 2017

TM/DCA: Malta Aircraft Registry update

Transport Malta/Directorate of Civil Aviation published today the latest update of the Maltese Aircraft Register.

New addition/s: 

  • 9H-ALI - Boeing B737-300 (c/n. 28668/2890), registered to ADF ABL Aviation 28668 Ltd., British Virgin Island (ex PZ-TCN)
Cancellation/s: none

(Source: Transport Malta, 27-Dec-2017)