Thursday, February 25, 2021

DHL Express and SmartLynx Malta sign partnership agreement

Express service provider DHL Express and SmartLynx Malta have signed a new partnership agreement for the introduction of two newly converted Airbus A321-200 freighters joining DHL's European air fleet. 

The new technically advanced narrow-body fleet type is adding capacity to meet the increasing demand for express cargo transportation worldwide combined with further improving DHL's unit CO2 emissions by introducing the most fuel efficient narrow-body aircraft in its class.

SmartLynx Malta is planning to add two additional A321Fs during 2021 and up to four units during 2022, with a business target of becoming one of the largest narrow-body cargo freight carriers within the next three years.

(Source: avitrader.com, 25-Feb-2021)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Malta IAP publishes its financial results for 2020

Malta International Airport today published the financial results for 2020, reporting a drop of €68 million (-67.9%) in the total revenue generated by the Group during the year under review compared to 2019.

Malta IAP's passenger traffic for 2020 suffered a staggering drop of 76.1% as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, leading to the worst traffic result and the first loss-making year for the Group since the airport's privatisation in 2002.

Malta IAP plc's financial statements show that while revenue from the Company's aviation segment registered a drop of 74.8%, revenue from the non-aviation segment, which includes rents, parking, and VIP products, dropped 51.4%.

In contrast with 2019, when the Group had closed the year with profit after tax amounting to €33.9 million, Malta IAP plc ended 2020 with a net loss of €4.3 million at Group level.

The Group's financial statements also show that, through a strict cost-cutting and liquidity preservation programme, Malta IAP plc had succeeded in lowering its total expenditure to €26.6 million (-28.3%) during the reporting period. 

Group staff costs registered a decrease of €2.2 million (-20.2%), which resulted from the Covid Wage Supplement Scheme and temporary salary reductions between April and July 2020, while operating expenditure decreased by €8.3 million (-31.8%).

(Source: maltairport.com, 24-Feb-2021)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Gulf Med to invest in helicopters services

Gulf Med, which was established in Malta five years ago, is a joint venture between a Maltese company which offers medical services including in the evacuation of persons from remote areas such as oil rigs, and a helicopter company based in Qatar.

Emma Finley-Broadbelt, the company chief executive which specializes in helicopter repairs, stated that the company registered success stories during the past two years, including a contract to make repairs on the Cypriot Police helicopter fleet.  Last year, the company was awarded a similar contract by the Croatian government, while it invested in a helicopter which is used to transport patients from the Gozo hospital to Malta.

Ms Finley-Broadbelt added that, despite the pandemic’s challenge on the aviation sector, the company will be taking over the helicopters services from its partner – Gulf Helicopters Company.  This will lead to the operation of flights towards oil rigs in West Africa, among others.

"We will be required to make some significant investments, which will include our aircraft maintenance training organisation, so as we develop we will be able to keep pace with the requirements for personnel by developing local talent," Finley-Broadbelt stated.

The Gulf Med chief executive stated that they will collaborate with the University of Malta and MCAST in order to implement this step.  The company will also invest in infrastructure and new equipment.

(Source: tvm.com.mt, 16-Feb-2021)

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Swiss AF P-7 Team confirms participation at 2021 Malta International Airshow

This year's planned edition of the Malta International Airshow will see Swiss precision at its very best. 

The Malta Airshow team has received official confirmation of participation by the Swiss PC-7 TEAM at the Malta International Airshow 2021.

The team flies a formation of 9 Swiss-made PC-7 advanced trainer turboprop aircraft and has always been a favourite with the Maltese public whenever the team visited Malta in previous editions.

The Malta International Airshow Team warmly welcomes the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team to Malta's skies this September.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 11-Feb-2021)

Alitalia flight AZ884 to Malta IAP rejects take-off from Rome-Fiumico due to a bird strike

An Alitalia Airbus A319-100 (EI-IMM), performing flight AZ-884 (on 9-Feb-2021) from Rome-Fiumicino (Italy) to Malta IAP (Malta), was accelerating for take-off from Fiumicino's RWY 25 when the crew rejected take-off at high speed (about 110 knots over ground) due to a bird strike.  The aircraft slowed safely and returned to the apron.  A replacement A319 (EI-IMG) reached Malta with a delay of 2.5 hours.

A passenger reported they heard a bang from the left hand side and an orange flash from the left engine (CFM56), immediately afterwards the brakes came on.  The flight attendants announced the take-off had been aborted and more information would follow, the captain subsequently announced that a bird strike had occurred, they would disembark and board another aircraft. 

(Source: avherald.com, 11-Feb-2021)

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Air Malta to cut unprofitable routes, staff costs

Air Malta plans to cut unprofitable routes and needs to slash its payroll costs further to improve its financial health, Executive Chairman D. Curmi has said.  The under pressure national airline has been "dismantled" by the pandemic and its effects have been "very difficult to overcome" Curmi told a tourism industry webinar on Tuesday.

He revealed the airline is preparing to drop routes which are "unprofitable" and plans to instead focus "on core destinations".  He did not detail the routes to be cut nor give any indication as to how many would be shelved.  An Air Malta spokesperson later confirmed that the organisation would focus on the U.K., France, Germany and Italy for "the immediate future", with routes and frequencies to pick up in the future.

Air Malta, which has already cut salaries and made hundreds of pilots and cabin crew redundant, will have to reduce payroll costs further to strengthen its balance sheet.  Curmi revealed the €50 million payroll was a huge cost for the airline.  "We cannot run this airline on such a payroll and we will be taking the necessary actions in this regard," he said, without going into any further details. 

Curmi said that despite the challenges, the airline has continued to operate to fewer destinations and was one of the only forms of connectivity during the peak of the pandemic.  But he said that Air Malta planes are leased at very high rates, where one aircraft costs around €10 million to run. "We currently have eight planes, therefore we see a cost of €80 million."

When asked what must be done to safeguard Air Malta, Curmi said that some "bold decisions" must be made and the airline will continue working closely with stakeholders such as the government, MHRA and MTA.

He said that the airline is in discussions to ensure that by 2024 Air Malta would replace older planes with newer ones which would be more cost efficient and also save fuel bills by 20%.  "The key goal is to safeguard Air Malta, and that means we must think in terms of efficiency, cost reductions and also increasing revenue," he said.

(Source: timesofmalta.com, 9-Feb-2021)

Malta IAP releases traffic results for Jan-21

Malta International Airport started what is set to be another challenging year for the aviation industry with a drop of 90.7% in January passenger traffic.

During the month of January, 38,938 passengers travelled through Malta IAP, with this monthly total being comparable to the traffic handled by the airport in three days in January 2020.

The airport's weakest traffic result since its reopening in Jul-20 comes in the wake of the implementation of new travel bans and more stringent requirements in source markets such as the U.K. the Netherlands and Belgium.

Having slid four places when compared to Jan-20, the U.K. ranked sixth in Malta IAP's top market list, with Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, and Belgium all outperforming it in terms of passenger movements.

Malta IAP registered significant drops in weekly flight frequencies for January.  From among Malta IAP's top airports for the month, Rome Fiumicino was hit hardest, as the 27 weekly flights operated in Jan-20 were whittled down to just eight last month.

Changing travel requirements and restrictions also had an impact on overall connectivity, with Malta IAP's direct connections being limited to just 28 scheduled routes in January 2021 as opposed to 99 scheduled routes operated in Jan-20.

(Source: maltairport.com, 9-Feb-2021) 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Luxwing Phenom 100 lands at Paris-Le Bourget with the landing gear retracted

A small Embraer Phenom 100 business jet registered 9H-FAM belonging to Maltese airline Luxwing landed at Paris-Le Bourget airport with the landing gear retracted this morning at around 11:00.  

In a shower of sparks and flames, the aircraft skidded for several hundred meters before coming to a stop at the threshold of the runway.  A fire broke out but it was taken under control in less than a minute by the firefighters already present on site.

There were three persons on board, including the two pilots.  These were taken care of by the emergency services for simple checks, according to the press service of AĆ©roports de Paris.  Air traffic at Le Bourget was diverted for a few hours.

An investigation by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis of Civil Aviation is underway to try to understand the reasons for the accident.

(Source: aviation24.be, 8-Feb-2021)