Friday, March 30, 2018

Ryanair launches Malta's summer schedule

Ryanair on Thursday launched its Malta summer schedule, with new routes to Aberdeen (2 weekly), Barcelona (4 weekly), Bratislava (2 weekly), Paris Beauvais (2 weekly), Gothenburg (1 weekly), Porto (2 weekly), Pescara (2 weekly), Seville (2 weekly) and Tallinn (1 weekly).

Services to Belfast (2 weekly), Naples (2 weekly) and Riga (2 weekly) are continuing from the winter, for the first time. With these nine new and three extended routes, Ryanair’s Malta summer schedule includes 54 routes in total. (Source: timesofmalta.com, 29-Mar-2018)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Air Malta launches new route between Malta IAP and St. Petersburg

Air Malta launched yesterday evening its new scheduled service to St. Petersburg-Pulkovo airport (Russia) from Malta IAP.  The first flight, operated with Airbus A320-200 (9H-AEQ), departed from Malta IAP at 2210lt (KM-568).  The return flight from St. Petersburg (KM-569) landed at Malta IAP at 0746lt this morning.  Air Malta will be operating the St. Petersburg route once-weekly, on Wednesdays. (29-Mar-2018)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Air Malta launches new scheduled service to Casablanca, Malaga and Venice

Air Malta launched yesterday its new scheduled service from Malta IAP to Casablanca (Morocco), Malaga (Spain) and Venice (Italy) respectively.

The first scheduled flight to Casablanca-Mohammad V IAP, operated with Airbus A320-200 (9H-AHR), departed from Malta IAP at 1816lt (KM-724).  The return flight from Casablanca (KM-724) landed at Malta IAP at 0046lt early this morning.  Air Malta will be operating the Casablanca new route twice-weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays

The first scheduled flight to Malaga airport, operated with Airbus A320-200 (9H-AEN), departed from Malta IAP at 1944lt (KM-590).  The return flight from Casablanca (KM-591) landed at Malta IAP at 0141lt early this morning.  Air Malta will be operating the Malaga route twice-weekly, on Mondays and Fridays.

The first scheduled flight to Venice/Tessara-Marco Polo airport, operated with Airbus A320-200 (9H-AEK), departed from Malta IAP at 2047lt (KM-638).  The return flight from Venice (KM-639) landed at Malta IAP at 0110lt early this morning.  Air Malta will be operating the Venice route twice-weekly, on Mondays and Saturdays. (27-Mar-2018)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Air Malta launches its summer schedule

This week marks the start of five out of 15 new and exciting destinations in Air Malta summer schedule.  The new schedule, which started today, Mar. 25th, sees the Maltese National Airline operating a total of 34 scheduled routes with over 180 return flights per week and three new intra-European services.

Air Malta will initially operate with a fleet of nine aircraft, however due to a significant increase in scheduled services adding London-Southend, Cagliari and Catania and more frequencies to existing destinations, the airline has secured the lease of a brand new Airbus A320neo which will join the fleet in the coming months.

After many years, this summer's schedule, will see the return of flights to three new countries; Morocco, Spain and Portugal through the launch of the Casablanca, Malaga and Lisbon routes respectively.

This summer the airline is offering thirteen new destinations including Cagliari, Comiso, Kiev, Tarbes–Lourdes, St Petersburg, Venice, Manchester, Frankfurt and London-Southend.  Summer 2018 will also see Air Malta's operate three intra-European services between Catania/Vienna, Catania/London-Southend and Cagliari/London-Southend.

The airline will also increase frequencies on Catania, Palermo and Rome.  Commenting on this summer's schedule, CCO P. Sies stated, "This scheduled signifies a strong commitment by Air Malta towards the local tourism industry.  The introduction of our new routes will offer better connectivity to the Maltese Islands with the rest of the world and attract new inbound tourism.  As an Airline we are expanding our operations not just by concentrating on point to point connections but also by tapping into new markets through a series of intra-European services."

Air Malta's Chairman Dr C. Mangion added, "We have an ambitious schedule this year that will see us operating 18,230 flights; an increase of 4,155 (+30%) more than 2017.  We are aiming to carry over 2.3 million passengers, an impressive increase of 630,000 (+43%) more passengers than last year and a historical record for Air Malta.

This summer Air Malta will be operating direct flights to Amsterdam, Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels, Cagliari, Catania, Casablanca, Comiso, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, London-Southend, Lourdes-Tarbes, Lyon, Kiev, Malaga, Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Palermo, Charles-De Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Prague, Rome, St Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Tunis, Venice, Vienna and Zurich.

Apart from the scheduled services, in cooperation with local travel agents, Air Malta is operating an interesting series of charter operations this summer to Bratislava, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Ljubljana, Otopeni and Warsaw.  

The Maltese National airline will continue code-share agreements with airBaltic, Air France, Alitalia, Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, KLM, Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Czech Airlines, Meridiana, Swiss Airlines and Turkish Airlines.  These agreements expand Air Malta’s network to other markets worldwide. (Source: independent.com.mt, 25-Mar-2018)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Air Malta launches new route between Malta IAP and Lisbon

Air Malta launched this afternoon its new scheduled service to Lisbon-Portela (Portugal) from Malta IAP.  The first scheduled flight, operated with Airbus A319-100 (9H-AEJ), departed from Malta IAP at 1244lt (KM-594).  The return flight from Lisbon (KM-595) landed at Malta IAP at 1924lt.  Air Malta will be operating this new route twice-weekly, on Thursdays and Sundays. (25-Mar-2018)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Air Malta's flight from Paris-Orly severely delayed after the closure of the airport

Air Malta has said that the departure time of its scheduled flight from Paris-Orly to Malta had been pushed from 6:15pm on Sunday to noon on Monday because of the closure of the airport due to night flying restrictions.

"The aircraft was scheduled to depart at 6:10pm but was delayed as a consequence of earlier delays and unfortunately could not take-off because the closure of the Paris-Orly airport," read a statement from the airline.  Air Malta said guests and crew were accommodated in nearby hotels and "taken care of".

Moreover it said that as a consequence of the delay a further three flights were delayed on Monday including KM-100 to London-Heathrow, KM-612 to Rome-Fiumicino and KM-306 to Munich (two hours).

Air Malta apologized for any inconvenience caused, adding that it had spared "no effort to minimize the inconvenience to passengers due to circumstances beyond its control". (Source: maltatoday.com, 19-Mar-2018)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Air Malta obtains replacement for leased aircraft following complaints

Air Malta said today that, in light of recent complaints, it requested that the aircraft the airline had been wet-leasing in the short-term be replaced by another aircraft from its lessor.

It was yesterday reported that the KM-116 flight from to London-Gatwick was delayed for more than 13 hours due to an operations fault on the aircraft meant to be operating the flight.  The aircraft - reported in the media as being an almost three-decade-old Boeing 737-400 - was being wet-leased in the short-term until two new aircraft are delivered to the airline.

"As from today another aircraft has been delivered to Air Malta by the lessor and this aircraft has this morning started operating Air Malta flights," the airline said in a press release, without giving details on the aircraft's model and age.

"The airline demands high standards throughout all its operations and does not leave any stone unturned to assist passengers.  Although being EASA certified, in light recent complaints Air Malta has insisted with its lessor to change the wet-leased aircraft.  As from today another aircraft has been delivered to Air Malta by the lessor and this aircraft has this morning started operating Air Malta flights," it said. (Source: maltatoday.com, 18-Mar-2018)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Operational fault with leased aircraft delays Air Malta flights

Air Malta has confirmed that its KM-116 flight to London-Gatwick has been delayed by more than 13 hours due to an operational fault with the aircraft meant to be operating the flight.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the airline said that the aircraft was scheduled to depart at 8:40am, but had encountered a fault shortly before take off.  Air Malta said that its customers had been accommodated in nearby hotels and had been offered refreshments in line with the delay's duration. 

"The flight was scheduled to be operated by a wet leased aircraft which was brought in to help with the increased flight schedule currently being operated by the airline," it said.  "The short-term wet lease of this aircraft was necessary due to the fact that the delivery of the ninth aircraft was delayed by the leasing company."

"Wet leasing aircraft is an industry standard when dealing with increased operational requirements and unexpected aircraft delays and is done by all international airlines on a regular basis," added Air Malta. (Source: maltatoday.com, 17-Mar-2018)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Malta Air Travel secures its AOC

Tourism Minister Dr K. Mizzi announced that Malta Air Travel, that was set up to administer Air Malta's landing rights, has acquired the necessary Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) licence to be able to operate flights.  Dr Mizzi also announced that Tourism Authority Chief Executive P. Bugeja will be Malta Air Travel's Executive Chairman.  Dr Mizzi made these announcements when he was inaugurating the AMITEX Travel Fair, organised annually by Air Malta at Ta' Qali. (Source: tvm.com.mt, 15-Mar-2018)

Air Malta to offer scheduled flights to Lourdes from June and throughout the summer

During the inauguration of the AMITEX Travel Fair, organised annually by Air Malta at Ta' Qali, Air Malta's Chairman Dr C. Mangion announced that with effect from June and throughout the summer Air Malta would be offering scheduled flights to Lourdes. These flights were previously operated on a charter basis. Dr Mangion stated that with the increase in routes and flight frequencies, Air Malta is planning to carry 2.3 million passengers next financial year. (Source: tvm.com.mt, 15-Mar-2018)

Friday, March 9, 2018

M.I.A. plc releases traffic results for Feb18

Ending with a total of 349,430 passenger movements, last month was Malta Int'l Airport's busiest February to date.  Traffic for the month grew by a significant 18% over the previous year, peaking on the Feb 18th when the airport handled 15,189 pax.  Whilst all winter months so far have registered double-digit growth, February's increase was the strongest.

This was observed in parallel with an increase in both aircraft movements and seat capacity, which grew by 14% and 15.5%, respectively.  Despite a significant addition in the number of available seats on flights to and from the airport, seat load factor (SLF) gained 1.6% to reach 78.5%.

The top contributors to February’s traffic were the U.K. (+16%), Italy (+14%), Germany (+7%), Belgium (-2%), and France (+19%), cumulatively accounting for 71% of the total passenger movements recorded.  These markets, except for Belgium, registered varying levels of growth, stemming from a winter flight schedule offering better connections.  

The increase in passenger numbers from the U.K. and Italy can be mainly attributed to the launch of the Belfast, London-Southend, Naples and Comiso routes.  On the other hand, traffic from Germany and France was boosted by better flight frequencies on the Munich and Paris-Orly routes, respectively.

Malta IAP is now looking ahead to unveiling a new flight schedule boasting more than 100 destinations towards the end of March to coincide with the start of summer for the aviation industry. (Source: maltairport.com, 8-Mar-2018)

Air Malta to resume services to Berlin-Tegel as from the end of this October

Air Malta will resume services to Berlin-Tegel as from the end of this October with up to two weekly scheduled frequencies every Wednesday and Sunday.  This was announced today by Minister for Tourism Dr. Konrad Mizzi at this year's ITB fair in Berlin.

P. Sies, Air Malta’s CCO, explained: "The airline had operated this route mostly to facilitate tour operator traffic but stopped it last year due to weak demand.  After an evaluation and with the enhanced sales power we gained with the introduction of the Go-Light product, our hand luggage only fares, and the new sales teams we appointed in Germany, the airline now sees an opportunity to go back to Berlin as a full scheduled operator.  After getting more support from tour operators and giving them the opportunity to buy seats on the service, we are confident that we can successfully relaunch this service."  (Source: aviationtribune.com, 8-Mar-2018)

Ryanair launches Malta W18 schedule with eight new routes from Malta

Ryanair has launched its Malta winter 18 schedule with eight new routes to Barcelona and Seville (Spain), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), Paris-Beauvais (France), Porto (Portugal), Pescara (Italy), and Tallin (Estonia).  According to the carrier, with these new additions, Ryanair will have 48 routes that will fly an estimated 2.5 million customers through Malta IAP next year.

The Barcelona route is expected to be operated with a four-time a week frequency; Bratislava, Budapest, Porto, Pescara, and Seville will have flights two weekly fights; Paris Beauvais will serve a three-time a week flight and Tallinn with a weekly service. (Source: airwaysmag.com, 8-Mar-2018)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

MATS chooses Leonardo patented data link solution for ATC communication

Leonardo has signed a contract with Malta Air Traffic Services Ltd. (MATS), the Maltese Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), to supply an integrated Data Link solution for air traffic management applications.  The contract covers the provision, installation and commissioning of a VHF DataLink Mode-2 (VDL2) network infrastructure based onto Leonardo's patented 'dual language' technology and the upgrade of Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) functionality at the MATS air traffic management centre.  The MATS ATM centre, which was previously provided by Leonardo, is currently in operation. 

The advanced Data Link solution can carry both Air Traffic Control Services (ATS) and Airline Operational Communications (AOC) on the same network infrastructure.  This means that the system can convey communications between pilot and tower on a single, high-performance network that is easy to install. The system satisfies the requirements of all major air traffic control stakeholders (ANSPs, ICAO, EASA and SESAR Deployment Manager).  

The integrated Data Link solution will also improve the safety and efficiency of air traffic management via a CPDLC function that enables the exchange of digital text messages between controllers and pilots in addition to traditional voice communications.  Moreover, the Data Link is a prerequisite for providing aircraft flight path information (Initial 4D-trajectory information sharing) and other data from an aircraft to an ATM system, allowing for flexible airspace management and Free Route capabilities. 

Leonardo's solution will allow MATS to implement the new SESAR Data Link requirements (Model C with multifrequency) and to be fully compliant with the new European Commission implementation regulations, which outline the requirements for the introduction of Data Link services for the Single European Sky initiative.  It will also avoid frequency congestion, bringing Malta very close to the SESAR European Target Solution on data links (namely Model D Data Link Network), which is to be reached by 2022. (Source: Leonardo, 7-Mar-2018)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Malta IAP ranks second best European airport in ACI's 2017 ASQ awards

Malta International Airport has ranked second among its European counterparts in Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards.  This achievement gains further significance considering that last year the terminal was in a state of ongoing development through the company's Terminal Reconfiguration Project, making the delivery of an excellent service a more exacting task.

ACI announced its 2017 winners today, following the rating of 343 airports worldwide by departing passengers travelling through them during the year.  The ASQ awards seek to recognise airports whose services and facilities are deemed to be excellent by their customers.

Having placed with the top five European airports for the past nine years, Malta IAP is no newcomer to these awards.  However, last year's overall passenger satisfaction score was its highest to date.  This score bumped the airport up a place from 2016, where it is in a tie with Moscow-Sheremetyevo (+40 million pax/year) and Porto (+10 million pax/year).  The top spot in the European category was claimed by Sochi, a Russian airport welcoming over five million passengers annually.

"This is a most fitting reward for a team that puts a lot of effort into delivering an excellent service and finding new ways to enhance the passenger experience.  Whilst we certainly worked hard for this accolade, the excellent result obtained exceeded our expectations, especially considering the added challenges construction works falling under our Terminal Reconfiguration Project presented throughout 2017.  I would like to thank the Malta IAP team and our stakeholders for overcoming these challenges through teamwork and a lot of dedication," said Malta IAP CEO A. Borg.

2017 was, in fact, a pivotal year in terms of infrastructural development, with Malta IAP unveiling a new La Valette lounge, relocating its Central Security Area twice, and constructing a new mezzanine level, whilst remaining fully operational and welcoming unprecedented numbers of guests.  The many improvements brought about by the Terminal Reconfiguration Project seem to have eclipsed inevitable inconveniences, such as hoarded-off areas and noise, resulting from the same project, as suggested by the high scores registered in areas such as terminal ambiance, cleanliness and VIP lounges in the ASQ survey.  The courtesy and helpfulness of airport and security staff also received very high scores in this survey.

"These scores are votes of confidence from our guests, strengthening our determination to keep investing in our airport and our people, and reinventing ourselves," commented Mr Borg.

Terminal reconfiguration works are now centred on the Check-in Hall, which will soon start operating with eight additional check-in desks, and the new Central Security Area.  The project is on track to be completed by summer 2018 and is envisaged to put Malta IAP in a better position to continue working towards its vision of being the best airport in Europe.  Throughout the coming year, other significant investments including the replacement of terminal signage, the refurbishment of washrooms, and the installation of a new public announcement system will contribute to further improving the passenger journey through Malta IAP.

"These winning airports have dedicated themselves to delivering a stellar customer experience, and ACI World proudly recognises the accomplishments of all airports in the global ASQ network," said ACI World Director A. Gittens. (Source: maltairport.com, 6-Mar-2018)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Air Malta's tenth leased aircraft will be an A320neo

Air Malta is concluding an agreement to lease a brand new 180-seater Airbus A320neo straight off the production line.  The aircraft, which is currently being assembled at the Airbus plant in Toulouse, France, will join Air Malta's fleet this May, the national airline said.  This summer Air Malta will thus operate with ten Airbus aircraft (nine A320 and one A319).

Commenting on this development Air Malta Chairman CMangion said, "In the coming weeks we will start operating our summer schedule that will see us flying to no less than 13 new routes.  This aircraft will give us additional flexibility in operating these routes and the almost 2,000 additional flights we are planning to operate this year.  Upon being presented with this opportunity, we secured this brand new aircraft off the production line.  This shows that Air Malta’s management, together with the airline's board, are working hard to keep its commitment to strengthen the National Airline."

The Airbus A320neo is a development of the A320 family.  Apart from the enhanced specifications like a more modern look and feel of the cabin that includes led lightning, and larger luggage storage, the aircraft is projected to decrease operational costs especially on fuel efficiency by 11-17%.  Due to its fuel efficiency the aircraft is capable of longer range flights of about 10-15% due to its lower fuel burn rate.  The aircraft will be equipped with CFM International LEAP-1A engines. (Source: independent.com.mt, 4-Mar-2018)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Air Malta says it grew by 34.6% in February

Air Malta has carried 34.6% more passengers this February compared to last year, a record increase during the traditionally weakest month of the year.  The Maltese airline carried a total of 26,000 more passengers than February 2017.  Between November of last year to February this year, the airline reported a strong growth of 24%, making this winter season one of the most successful ever.

Commenting on the latest results, P. Sies, Air Malta’'s Chief Commercial Officer said, "This is excellent news for Air Malta.  Although we had an excellent performance with regards to advanced bookings for the month of February, we were positively surprised that the same momentum was also retained during the month.  In line with our strategy we have increased frequency on main routes and re-introduced Frankfurt.   

"We worked hard to fill up the additional capacity we offered to the market. Our new strategy, which included the launch of the hand luggage only fare Go-Light which was announced last September, proved to be very popular amongst our guests, who are now realising that nowadays, in many cases, Air Malta offers the best fares.  We are working hard to maintain this momentum in the coming months. Looking forward the preliminary results for March are looking very promising."

In the last six months Air Malta launched a total of 13 new routes including three intra-European services.  The airline managed to improve its aircraft utilisation significantly and is also working hard to ensure that its aircraft fly more hours with up to 12 hours in winter and 14 hours in summer, spreading the cost over more routes and increasing its revenues. (Source: independent.com.mt, 2-Mar-2018)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Air Malta cancels Friday morning's London-Heathrow flight because of bad weather

Air Malta has cancelled two London-Heathrow flights tomorrow because of adverse weather conditions.  It said flights KM-100 and KM-101, to and from the British capital, have been cancelled.  "We are doing our utmost to re-accommodate all guests on other flights and apologise for any inconvenience caused due to conditions beyond our control.  Efforts will be made to handle the passengers on other flights," it said in a statement. (Source: timesofmalta.com, 1-Mar-18)