Friday, November 30, 2018

Malta Maritime Pilots get new launch

A new pilot boat with the name of Juliet I has been inaugurated.  The 15-metre launch has been built with a 900,000 euro investment.  Juliet I is the eighth launch for the Malta Maritime Pilots, a cooperative set up in 2003.  The cooperative today employs 65 persons, among them 16 pilots.  The Chief Pilot, Captain J. Mifsud, told TVM that pilots nowadays manoeuvre vessels which are as long as four football pitches.  (Source: tvm.com.mt, 30-Nov-2018)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Air Malta awarded the CAPA Turnaround Airline of the Year

Air Malta has scooped the 2018 'Turnaround Airline of the Year' at the prestigious CAPA World Aviation Outlook summit held in Berlin.  Air Malta was chosen amongst the world's airlines for its 'innovative strategic changes and/or a restructuring exercise'.  

CAPA's Aviation Awards for Excellence are regarded as the pre-eminent awards for strategic excellence in aviation.  This year's winners in various categories include Qantas Group, WOW air, CityJet, LEVEL and Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air's Chief Executive.  

Air Malta's Chairman, Dr C. Mangion, was presented with the award during the CAPA Aviation Awards ceremony.  Air Malta was selected for its successful transformation, from a heavy loss-making entity to a break-even result for the fiscal year ended March 2018.

In the statement announcing the winners CAPA said that Air Malta had been unprofitable for nearly 20 years as it struggled to overcome multiple challenges, including increasing competition from LCCs, outdated work practices and tensions in the North Africa market, which impacted its traditionally strongest routes.  It added that the flag carrier had accumulated operating losses of more than USD300 million over the 10 years ended Mar-2017. (Source: Air Malta, 28-Nov-2018)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Turkish Airlines A333 bound to Lagos diverts to Malta IAP

A Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-300 (TC-JNM), performing flight TK-625 between Istanbul-Ataturk (Turkey) and Lagos-Murtala Mohammed (Nigeria), had to divert to Malta Int'l Airport this afternoon due to medical emergency on board.  The flight continued to Lagos after nearly 90-mins at Malta IAP.  (Source: flightradar24.com, 21-Nov-2018)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Year-to-date traffic through Malta IAP soars to nearly six million passenger movements

Malta Int’l Airport continued to register exceptional results, with year-to-date traffic through the terminal reaching 5,939,436 passenger movements.  This figure indicates that the airport is on track to reaching its forecast 6.8 million passenger movements by the end of 2018.

Last summer was an important contributor to this year-to-date total.  A 12.2% growth in passenger traffic for the summer months – from April to October – was observed alongside a 13.4% increase in aircraft movements and an increase of 13.7% in seat capacity.  These improvements mainly resulted from a significantly enhanced summer schedule with more than 100 destinations on offer.

"Year-to-date traffic results are quite remarkable considering that last year the six million mark was only reached on the last day of 2017.  While summer has now ended, over 12 routes have been extended into the winter period and more frequencies have been added on a number of routes.  The months ahead promise to keep us busy, auguring well for our pledge to constantly work towards year-round tourism," said Malta IAP CEO, A. Borg.

The top drivers of passenger traffic during the summer months were the U.K. (+14.9%), Italy (+15.1%), Germany (-2.3%), France (+12.5%), and Spain (+44.5%).  Spain's noteworthy spike in passenger movements can be attributed to the launch of three new summer routes; Malaga, Seville, and Bilbao, two of which have been extended into the winter period.

Last summer's most popular destination with Maltese holidaymakers was Italy, with Catania and Rome being the most sought-after cities.  These two cities will be benefitting from four additional weekly flights each throughout the winter period, which will certainly serve to further cement their popularity with the Maltese public even in the off-peak months.

October, which marks the end of summer for the aviation industry, grew by 8.4% in terms of traffic to reach 646,559 passenger movements.  (Source: maltairport.com, 7-Nov-2018)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Air Malta forced to delay flight after pilots and their replacements call in sick

Air Malta flight KM560/1 from Malta to Moscow was yesterday evening delayed by 10 hours 30 minutes due to the fact that the planned operating crew for this flight reported sick, the airline said in a statement.  

The next standby crew was called and the co-pilot reported sick after he was called in, leaving the airline with no option but to delay the flight and wait for a leased aircraft to be flown to Malta, Air Malta said.

Consequently, and to minimise disruptions to its customers, the airline has today wet-leased an Airbus A321 to operate KM100/1 from Malta to London in order to facilitate the delayed flight to Moscow.

This flight was delayed by 2-hrs 55-mins.  A number of other flights were also delayed today with delays ranging from 20-40 minutes.  KM368/9 from Malta to Hamburg was delayed by one hour.

The estimated cost of this disruption is over €85,000, Air Malta said, apologizing for any inconvenience caused by circumstances beyond its control.  (Source: independent.com.mt, 7-Nov-2018)

Ukraine Air Alliance AN12 bound to Mitiga diverts to Malta IAP

A Ukraine Air Alliance Antonov AN-12 (UR-CGV), performing cargo flight UKL4019 between Paris-Vatry Chalons (France) and Tripoli-Mitiga (Libya), had to divert to Malta IAP this morning due to the temporarily closure of Mitiga airport because of unrest in its vicinity.  The aircraft continued with the flight to Tripoli-Mitiga after 55-mins on the ground.  (Source: 7-Nov-2018)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ryanair launches new Malta to Amman route

Ryanair today announced a new route from Malta to Amman, Jordan, its 62nd route from Malta, with a twice weekly service commencing in April 2019, as it extends its biggest ever Summer 2019 schedule.  Ryanair will now operate 62 routes in total, which will deliver 3.1m customers p.a. through Malta airport next year, as Ryanair grows it's Malta traffic by 15%.  (Source: Ryanair, 6-Nov-2018)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

French BEA publishes the final report of the Metroliner that crashed in Malta on 24-Oct-2016

France's Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA) has published the final report about the "French spy plane" that crashed shortly after take-off from Malta IAP on 24-Oct-2016.  The modified twin turboprop Fairchild Metroliner (N577MX), operated by CAE Aviation for the French authorities, took-off from Malta IAP at 0719lt, spending only ten seconds in the air before crashing just outside the airport's perimeter fence in Safi, killing all five people on board. 

According to the final report on an investigation by the French BEA, the accident was caused by "a technical malfunction during rotation or on lift-off, leading to a loss of control".  The investigators say that the technical malfunction that is likely to have downed the plane probably "originated in the specific modifications of the aircraft and in the application of an inappropriate maintenance to these modifications".

Investigators looked into five possible scenarios:  possible high-risk behaviour on the part of the pilot; physical incapacitation of one of the pilots; rupture to its High-Frequency (HF) antenna causing it to become "wrapped around the elevator control surface"; a technical malfunction of the SAS stall avoidance system; technical malfunction of a component of the flight controls.

A number of recommendations were made to both the French authorities and the aircraft's operators, regarding the way in which maintenance is carried out on the modified aircraft.

As regards local authorities, the report notes that "during the investigation, due to limited access in situ, it was not possible to determine why the controller in the tower was not the first to trigger the alarm".

Consequently, the BEA recommended that the "Maltese authorities responsible for the airport to investigate the reasons why the controller in the control tower at the time of the accident was not the first person to detect the accident" and introduce measures to improve the response time.  (Source: maltatoday.com, 2-Nov-2018)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Air Malta launches 2018/19 winter schedule

Air Malta is setting its sights on extending its record passenger growth numbers into the Winter season with the start of its winter flight schedule this week.

On the back of unprecedented passenger traffic during the summer months, the airline’s strategy sees a new focus for the winter, with 27 scheduled destinations, an increase of nine destinations over last year.  The result is a 40% capacity increase covering a selection of 300 weekly departures.

Air Malta is committed to growing inbound and outbound tourism especially during the shoulder and winter periods.  The airline aims to offer a diverse selection of main city and hub airports and a high level of frequencies to and from Malta, giving passengers optimum choice and optimum value for money as well as several options to connect beyond to/from airports nor served with direct flights.

Several of the new routes launched in the last 12 months have proven to be highly successful and will subsequently be retained, including Lisbon, Cagliari, Malaga, Casablanca, and Kiev.

The 5th Freedom flights between Catania and Vienna and between Catania and London Southend will also be retained.

Meanwhile, the German market, which has for many years been a mainstay to both the airline and the country’s tourism success, will be given renewed focus.

The airline will be placing a lot of new capacity and investing in the German market by adding three new destinations; the capital Berlin, Hamburg and Leipzig.  With double daily flights to Munich, five weekly to Frankfurt and a twice weekly flights to Dusseldorf, Air Malta is making sure to cover the German market with 50 weekly departures to and from six airports.

This winter Air Malta will operate direct flights to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Cagliari, Catania, Casablanca, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Lisbon, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, London-Southend, Kiev, Malaga, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Palermo, Paris-Charles De Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Rome, Tel Aviv, Tunis, Vienna and Zurich. 

The airline will also operate flights between Catania – Vienna, Catania – London-Southend and Cagliari – London*Southend.

The winter schedule started on 28th October and runs up to the end March 2019.  (Source: Air Malta, 1-Nov-2018)