Last year Air Malta transported 1,541,300 passengers (-2.6%) on scheduled services compared to the average -5.8% registered by the airline members of the Association, 3.2% points better than the European average.
Commenting on these results Air Malta Chief Executive, Joe Cappello said, "A few weeks ago the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that demand statistics for international scheduled air traffic show that 2009 suffered the largest ever post-war decline whilst in Europe, the Association of European Airlines said that its members registered a 20 million passenger drop which surpasses the previously greatest recorded annual traffic loss, of 14 million in 2002, following the 9/11 outrage."
"Considering the international scenario, our record 2008 results, and the intense competition we have on the Malta routes, we believe that we have registered a relatively good year in terms of passenger figures,” continued Cappello.
In the past 6 years, Air Malta’s fuel bill rose from €26 million in 2003 to €86 million in 2008/2009, he explained.
"During the last 6 years Air Malta’s fares went down by 13% while the fuel cost went up by 330%," stated Mr. Cappello.
He said, "During these hard times it is normal for airlines to cut on capacity, however last summer we had taken the conscious decision to operate with an extra aircraft to increase seat capacity on Malta."
"The figures released by AEA show that cumulatively last year the European airlines decreased capacity by 4.2% whilst Air Malta increased capacity by 4.6% floating 2.3 million seats, 432,000 more seats than in 2008. Unlike other airlines which take decisions according to the financial returns to their foreign shareholders we at Air Malta know that our shareholder is Malta and thus our decisions are solely based and intended to benefit the islands’ tourism requirements. Such decisions continue to reaffirm our firm belief in the Maltese market and its tourism industry", concluded Mr Cappello.
In 2009 Air Malta’s ten best performing routes were London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Munich, Catania, Rome, Paris Orly, Frankfurt, Brussels and Amsterdam. These contribute to almost a million passengers annually.