Air Malta today reported traffic growth on its scheduled services of +4.4% in October over October 2008. "Considering that October 2008 was also a record traffic month, and 2009 has seen the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of 1929, these figures hint that the airline's strategy is bearing fruit and is managing to minimise the effects of the international financial crisis," the airline said.
"These figures confirm that Air Malta has the potential to increase tourism arrivals whilst competing with major European airlines," said Brock Friesen, Air Malta Chief Officer, Commercial.
"The growth in Air Malta passengers does not signal that we are out of the tourism recession or that Air Malta's revenue is also up. Indeed, average fares are lower as Air Malta has priced aggressively especially in France and Germany with a resulting October traffic growth of +15% and +14% respectively in these markets. UK figures were hurt by the declining value of the Sterling, however despite this Air Malta still managed to attract 2% more passengers from the UK in October ."
Figures issued by the Association of European Airlines show European airlines reduced capacity by 4.3% this year while Air Malta added capacity by 5%.
"The decision to operate with an additional aircraft and thus increase capacity paid dividends," added Dr Friesen. "This increased number of seats available to the market reflects Air Malta's commitment to Malta. Unlike subsidized low cost carriers, which cut capacity during economic difficulty, the Maltese airline strategy was built on putting additional capacity into promising markets. This year infact we increased capacity on Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy as well as to Central and Eastern Europe. Apart from increased frequencies, this summer Air Malta also started new services to Paris Charles deGaule airport, Stuttgart and Verona."
In Italy alone, Air Malta operated seven routes; Milan, Rome, Catania, Reggio Calabria, Bologna, Palermo and Verona. The Italian market maintained last year's figures despite the international financial situation and slowdown. Air Malta is currently finalising it plans so that next year it will be adding one or two additional northern Italian routes during next summer.