Sunday, March 31, 2019

Wizz Air launches new service Debrecen-Malta

Wizz Air has launched this evening direct flights between Debrecen (Hungary) and Malta IAP.  The first scheduled flight, operated with Airbus A320-200 (HA-LYC), landed at Malta IAP at 2149lt (W6-7877).  The aircraft departed after turnaround at 2250lt (W6-7878).  Wizz Air will be operating this new service twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Sundays.  (31-Mar-2019)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Air Malta to launch its summer schedule on March 31st

Air Malta's summer schedule will start on Sunday, Mar. 31st with 188 weekly flights to 42 destinations, Cairo and Warsaw being two new added destinations.  The frequency of flights to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Hamburg, Kiev, London-Heathrow, Lyon, Munich and Tunis has been increased.

In a statement Air Malta said it is evaluating a service to Ibiza (Spain) and Tbilisi (Georgia) in the height of summer but more details will be revealed in the coming weeks. 

Operating with a fleet of ten aircraft, the national airline is expecting to carry 1.46 million passengers over the next seven months.

The airline's CEO, Capt. C. Chetcuti was quoted in the statement as saying that this summer Air Malta will receive two brand new Airbus A320neo aircraft and these will offer more travel comfort to passengers.

Direct flights to be operated this summer are to Amsterdam, Birmingham, Berlin, Bristol, Brussels, Bucharest, Cagliari, Catania, Casablanca, Cairo, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Lisbon, Leipzig, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, London-Southend, Lourdes-Tarbes, Lyon, Kiev, Malaga, Manchester, Marseilles, Munich, Milan, Moscow, Palermo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Prague, Rome, St Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Tunis, Venice, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich.

In cooperation with local travel agencies Air Malta will also be operating a number of charter flights to Ljubljana, Dubrovnik and Krakow.  (Source: tvm.com.mt, 29-Mar-2019)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Air Malta looks to expand network after posting profit

Air Malta is examining launching new flights to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa after having posted its first profit in nearly two decades in 2018.  The Times of Malta quoted CEO C. Chetcuti as saying that the airline was studying new destinations, including also long-haul services to India.

In the Summer 2019 season, Air Malta will resume services to Cairo Int'l after a 12-year gap (due to be operated twice weekly from June 3rd) and will launch a brand new flight to Warsaw-Chopin (once weekly from June 1st).  The carrier will also add additional frequencies on a number of already served routes in Europe and northern Africa.

Mr Chetcuti underlined that, notwithstanding the positive result, the carrier could not rest on its laurels and will have to continue to fight against low-cost carriers competition.  (Source: ch-aviation.com, 28-Mar-2019)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Maleth-Aero takes delivery of its first widebody aircraft, an A346

Maltese based Maleth-Aero has added its first widebody aircraft to its Air Operators Certificate.  Airbus A340-642 s/n 1030, registered as 9H-PGS and configured with 8 First, 32 Business and 276 Economy seats is being introduced for worldwide Charter and ACMI work.  A sister ship being registered as 9H-PSI is on schedule to be added next month.

"We are pleased to have added this aircraft type to our capability and following some final into service training we are on schedule to be airborne in the coming days.  The addition of widebody aircraft will be used to expand our existing capability and open up new opportunities.  In line with the introduction of this type we have signed up to the IOSA Enhanced process which is underway", said M. O’Brien, CEO of Maleth-Aero.  (Source: aviation24.be, 25-Mar-2019)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Comlux adds first ACJ320neo to Malta’s register

Comlux Malta have taken delivery of the first A320neo ACJ in the fleet.  The aircraft has been aptly registered 9H-NEW and looks striking and very stylish in the white, gold and grey livery.  On Friday 22nd March the latest addition, flew from Hamburg to Indianapolis, where Comlux has its Completion Centre. The aircraft was flown direct to the United States and was crewed by well-known Maltese aviators Captain R. Risso and Captain I. Johnston.  The ACJ was delivered green with Comlux expecting to complete the interior in the coming eight months.  (Source: mavio.org, 24-Mar-2019)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Air Malta registers €1.2 million profit after 18 years of looses

On the 45th anniversary of Air Malta's first flight and after 18 years operating at a loss, the National Airline has registered an operational profit of €1.2 million.  During its Annual General Meeting, Air Malta presented its Financial Report for the year ended on 31-Mar-2018. 

The report revealed that during the year the airline's income increased by €5 million while its expenditure was decreased by €7 million.  The increased income resulted from an 11% increase in passenger loads and a 2.8% increase in flights operated.  The National Airline also managed to decrease expenditure by €6.5 million through a more efficient use of fuel consumption, the hiring of other aircraft and a reduction in maintenance costs.

Air Malta Chairman Dr C. Mangion said it has a fleet of ten aircraft and the Board has just approved a fleet increase over the next five years.  He said the target is the latest Airbus, model 320neo that carries 180 passengers.  He said the airline has carried more passengers and is making better use of its fleet and thus has been able to register a profit.

Dr Mangion said the plan is to increase the load factor and this has increased substantially despite the increased capacity and has to continue through the utilisation of more aircraft.  He said the present utilisation is 13 hours daily and in summer it will increase to 14 hours and this is quite high.  Dr Mangion maintained this productivity planned for in the Collective Agreements has also been met.

The Chairman said that following the introduction of 21 new routes, the airline has continued seeking new markets and in the coming week it is expected an announcement will be made of new routes to Warsaw in Poland and to Cairo in Egypt.  He said Air Malta will continue to monitor closely the Libya situation and at the first opportunity will continue Libyan flights.  (Source: tvm.com.mt, 23-Mar-2019)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Air Malta's flight to Moscow returns to Malta IAP for technical reasons

An Air Malta Airbus A320-200 (9H-AEN), operating flight KM-560 from Malta IAP to Moscow-Sheremetyevo IAP (Russia) had to return to Malta IAP yesterday evening after the crew reported a technical problem with the aircraft.

The aircraft landed safely on RWY 13 at 2307lt, 82-mins after departing from same runway.  The flight was subsequently operated by a replacement aircraft (A320, 9H-AEI) and departed from Malta IAP early this morning at 0026lt. (Source: flightradar24.com, 23-Mar-2019)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Wizz Air to increase frequency of Belgrade-Malta service

Low-cost carrier Wizz Air plans to increase the frequency of its flights from Serbia's Belgrade to Malta as of June, the company's flight schedule reveals.

Starting June 16, 2019, flights on the Belgrade-Malta route will be increase to four weekly, from the current three, Wizz Air said in a statement.

Wizz Air's route from Belgrade to Malta will be services on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.  (Source: seenews.com, 20-Mar-2019)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Ryanair to introduce two new routes in winter schedule

Ryanair has announced two new routes to and from Malta to Paphos (Cyprus) and Santiago (Spain), with effect from October.  The company has worked out it will carry some three million passengers this year on its 59 routes to and from Malta.

Ryanair also announced that in its winter schedule starting in October, it will continue with flights on the 13 new routes it will be operating in summer to eight countries, including Luxembourg, Greece, Holland and Norway, and Amman in Jordan. This besides the new routes to Spain and Cyprus.

Ryanair Head of Marketing C. Ravara stated that "we're going to have new connections to Paphos and Santiago, twice weekly – we’ re going to connect Malta to 21 countries and Cyprus is going to be our 21st country to connect Malta to."

C. Ravara added that the company reckons it will carry close to three million passengers to and from Malta this year, further stating that Ryanair will continue to retain its six-aircraft fleet based in Malta.  (Source: tvm.com.mt, 14-Mar-2019)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Malta closes airspace to Boeing 737 MAX

Malta's airspace will be closed to Boeing's 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 aircraft as of 8pm on Tuesday evening, Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) has said.  A spokesperson for CAD said the decision had been taken following a communication by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

"At this early stage of the related investigation, it cannot be excluded that similar causes may have contributed to both the Lion Air and Ethiopian crashes.  Based on all available information, EASA considers that further actions may be necessary to ensure the continued airworthiness of the two affected models," EASA said in an Emergency Airworthiness Directive on Tuesday.  "For the reasons described above, pending the availability of more information, EASA has decided to suspend all flight operations of both Boeing models." 

The CAD spokesperson also noted that there were no 737 MAX aircraft registered in Malta, nor were any aircraft of this type scheduled for commercials flights to or from Malta in the coming days.  (Source: maltatoday.com.mt, 12-Mar-2019)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Air Malta opens new integrated control centre

Air Malta unveiled a new integrated control centre on Sunday as part of upgrades which the airline said would allow it to respond more effectively to any disruptions or emergencies.

The new control room at the airline's Skyparks offices will bring together key decision makers on different parts of the airline's operations, including controllers, engineering, and commercial personnel.

CEO C. Chetcuti said the airline's emergency response room had also been upgraded.  Senior management will be located directly adjacent to the response room, allowing decisions to be taken quicker and communicated to customers more effectively.

Mr Chetcuti said the upgrades were part of a drive to improve the airline's operations to allow it to continue moving forward after encouraging results in recent years.  (Source: timesofmalta.com, 10-Mar-2019)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Malta IAP release traffic results for Feb-19

Last month was the second February which saw Malta International Airport surpass the 300,000 passenger mark. Totalling 359,395 passenger movements, traffic for February grew by 2.9% over February 2018.

This growth in passenger movements was registered alongside an increase of 8.9% in aircraft movements and an improvement of 6.4% in seat capacity.  Measuring the occupancy of seats available on flights operated from Malta Airport, seat load factor for February stood at 75.9%.

Last month, the U.K. moved back to the top of the list of Malta IAP's main drivers of passenger traffic, after having dropped a place in January.  The U.K. market was followed by Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, which were cumulatively responsible for more than 60% of all passenger movements recorded in February.

While the top three markets all registered a decrease ranging between -0.8% and -5.5%, France and Spain continued the growth trend observed at the beginning of the year into February.

France posted growth of 15.6%, partly stemming from developments such as the operation of the Bordeaux and Paris-Beauvais routes during the winter season for the first time and better flight frequencies on the Paris-Charles de Gaulle route.

On the other hand, a spike of 75.4% was observed with regard to passenger movements from Spain, resulting from improved connections with this market throughout the winter season.  (Source: maltairport.com, 7-Mar-2019)

Malta IAP wins best airport in Europe in the 5 to 15 million pax category at ASQ awards

Malta International Airport is among the winners of Airport Council International's prestigious Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards, claiming the title 'Best Airport in Europe' in its size category.

Airports Council International announced the winners today, following the rating of 346 airports worldwide by more than 650,000 departing passengers throughout 2018.  The main aim of the ASQ awards is to recognise airports that go the extra mile to provide their guests with nothing short of an excellent service and equally outstanding terminal facilities.

While 2016 and 2017 saw Malta IAP come in third and second place respectively, an all-time high passenger satisfaction score for 2018 pushed the airport to the very top rank of a group consisting of 35 peers, each hosting between five and 15 million passengers annually.  The Best Airport in Europe award gains further significance in light of the fact that the company's vision is that of offering the best airport experience in Europe.

"At a time when the customer experience is becoming an increasingly important aspect of what a business has to offer, it is extremely rewarding to see that our passengers have once again expressed their satisfaction with the service delivered as they traveled through our airport, leading us to win the coveted Best Airport in Europe award,” said Malta IAP CEO A. Borg.

Mr Borg went on to thank the team of around 3,000 employees and stakeholders working on the airport campus for understanding the importance of aligning their everyday efforts to the company's value of service excellence to shape airport journeys that exceeded passengers' expectations even on the airport's busiest days.

In fact, at 4.37, Malta IAP's overall passenger satisfaction score during peak season, stretching from July until September 2018, was significantly higher than the European average of 3.98.  The airport also achieved particularly high passengers scores on indicators including courtesy of airport staff, terminal cleanliness, and its La Valette lounges.

Malta IAP is sharing the Best Airport in Europe award with seven airports, considered to have delivered a top-notch service in 2018, in the U.K., Spain, Portugal, Norway, Russia, and Iceland.  (Source: maltairport.com, 6-Mar-2019)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

APU malfunction on Emirates B77W at Malta IAP

An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (A6-ECV) encountered a malfunction with its auxiliary power unit (APU) at Malta International Airport this afternoon.  Smoke was seen coming out of the APU’s exhaust. Emergency services rushed to the aircraft while the airport was temporarily closed for 20-mins. 

A Malta IAP spokesperson said that smoke was reported on an Emirates aircraft at 1341lt when all passengers had already disembarked.  The Malta IAP rescue and Fire-fighting Services Team controlled the situation within a few minutes.  She also said that there were no reported injuries and while operations at Malta IAP were temporarily suspended.

Consequently of this incident, the Emirates’ return flight (EK-108) to Dubai (U.A.E) via Larnaca (Cyprus) was delayed until the problem was rectified.  The aircraft finally departed from Malta IAP at 1910lt, with a delay of 4-hrs 15-mins. (Sources:  aviation24.be, newsbook.com.mt & flightradar24.com, 6-Mar-2019)



Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Eurowings' Stuttgart-Catania flight diverts to Malta IAP

A Eurowings Airbus A320-200 (D-ABNU), performing flight EW-2818 from Stuttgart (Germany) to Catania-Fontanarossa (Sicily, Italy), had to divert to Malta IAP this afternoon because of strong winds at Catania.  The flight then continued to Catania-Fontanarossa after 1-hr 45-mins at Malta IAP. (Source: flightradar24.com, 5-Mar-2019)