Friday, July 31, 2020

Air Malta commits to the Aviation Industry Charter for Covid-19

Air Malta announced it has joined major European aviation operators in a commitment to the ‘Aviation Industry Charter for Covid-19’ put forward by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). 

In a statement issued on Friday Air Malta’s Chief Executive and Accountable Manager, Capt. C. Chetcuti said that this charter is aimed at implementing consistent passenger safety procedures across the continent to facilitate the recovery of air transport services whilst maintaining safe and secure operations.

He said that Air Malta believes that a harmonized approach amongst the stakeholders across Europe is key to a safe return to normal operations and rebuilding customer confidence in air travel.

Air Malta’s CEO also said that  the implementation of the Covid-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol addresses the entire journey from the passenger’s perspective, at the departure airport, on board of the aircraft and at arrival to ensure the protection of our customers and crews against transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

(Source: newsbook.com.mt, 31-Jul-2020)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Ryanair extends its route from Malta to Vienna to Winter 2020

Ryanair has announced a new winter route from Malta to Vienna, with a three-weekly service, as part of Ryanair’s Malta Winter 2020 schedule.  Malta consumers and visitors can now book a winter getaway to Vienna as far out as March 2021, flying on the lowest fares and with a new set of health measures that Ryanair has rolled out to protect its customers and crew.

(Source: newsbook.com.mt, 30-Jul-2020)

Emirates stop permanently all flights to Malta

Emirates has permanently stopped all flights to Malta and made all local staff redundant as it closes its Maltese office.  A former high-ranking official from Emirates has informed Lovin Malta that the airline has discontinued its daily operations from Dubai to Malta on a permanent basis.  The decision comes following problematic months for the company in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Emirates stopped flights to Malta back in March as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world.

(Source: lovinmalta.com, 30-Jul-2020)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Austria's Lauda to close, be replaced with new Maltese unit 'Lauda Europe'

Lauda has announced that it will cease operations by the end of 2020 and will be replaced by a new unit, Lauda Europe, which has already commenced its certification in Malta.


The Austrian subsidiary of Ryanair Holdings said that the new unit would continue to operate A320s as a capacity provider under wet-lease terms for the needs of the entire group from its existing bases in Austria, Germany, and Spain, as well as new bases around Europe.  Lauda Europe plans to commence operations in Nov-20, subject to its AOC being secured by then.

The low-cost carrier holding blamed Austrian tax regulations for the decision, saying that they prevented Laudamotion GmbH (Lauda's legal name) from fulfilling the true potential of the Lauda brand.  In particular, it pointed out that by demanding that all employees be taxed under Austrian law, regardless of the location of their bases, the regulations hindered the expansion of Lauda as a wet-lease provider in other countries.

"Lauda Europe will allow German and Spanish based cabin crews to pay their income taxes in Germany and in Spain.  Lauda Europe will also facilitate new bases being opened across Europe, with pilots and cabin crew employed on local contracts.  Lauda Europe, with an Airbus AOC, will offer greater flexibility to the Ryanair Group, as it will open up bases across Europe without the penal restrictions imposed by Austria's income tax system," the group said.

In terms of its business model, the change will have limited impact on Lauda and Lauda Europe.  The Austrian unit planned to drop all in-house operations and fly exclusively under Ryanair's FR code going forward even if it had stayed in Austria.

Lauda Europe will be Ryanair Holdings' second Maltese AOC besides Malta Air, which operates B738s on behalf of Ryanair.

(Source:  ch-aviation.com, 28-Jul-2020)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Turkish Airlines to resumes flights to Malta on Aug. 1st

Turkey's national airline Turkish Airlines will resume flights to Malta on Aug. 1st after four months of service suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Turkish Airlines operated two scheduled daily flights between Malta and Istanbul, connecting the two countries with 322 destinations worldwide.

The Istanbul-Malta-Istanbul service is now planned to operate with a seven-weekly flight frequency until Aug. 15th.  Every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday the service will operate in the morning as TK1369/70, while every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the service will be in the evening as TK1371/72.  After Aug. 15th, the airline will operate a five-weekly flight frequency by temporarily eliminating the flights on Saturdays and Sundays. 

(Source: newsbook.com.mt, 28-Jul-2020)

Monday, July 27, 2020

Ryanair's flight FR-8280 to Luxembourg diverts to Bergamo

A Malta Air Boeing 737-800 (9H-QCQ), operating Ryanair flight FR-8280 between Malta International Airport and Luxembourg (Luxembourg), had to divert to Bergamo (Italy) this evening for technical reasons.  The flight then continued to Luxembourg, with a replacement aircraft (B738, 9H-QBH), reaching destination at 2126lt, with a delay of nearly two hours.  

(Source: flightradar24.com, 27-Jul-2020)

Friday, July 24, 2020

Malta makes it to Ryanair’s strongest destinations for Summer 2020

Ryanair announced that it's seen a surge in its Maltese Summer 2020 bookings, with tens of thousands of passengers booking to the island since it was announced that travel restrictions were progressively lifted on 1st and 15th July.

Over the last two weeks, Malta has been one of Ryanair's strongest destinations proving to be a clear favourite thanks to its 300 days of guaranteed sunshine.  Ryanair currently operates over 45 routes to/from Malta and its U.K. routes to the beautiful Mediterranean island rank among the most booked for the months of Jul & Aug 2020.

(Source: aviation24.be, 23-Jul-2020)

Monday, July 20, 2020

Air Malta to increase flights to Heathrow, Catania and add four more routes

Air Malta is to start flying more frequently to London-Heathrow and Catania airports and restart flights to four other destinations, some of them pending health and safety assessments.

Flights to Tunisia's capital, Tunis, are expected to start as early as July 31 but flights to Kiev, Moscow-Sheremetyevo and Tel Aviv are scheduled to restart by the first week of October depending on health and safety assessments.

The airline said on Monday that its Manchester route will restart on August 1 while it will also increase flight frequencies to and from London-Heathrow and Catania as of August.  It will be operating ten weekly flight to and from London-Heathrow and nine weekly flights on Catania. 

The airline's flight schedule is based on the 'safe corridors' model which Maltese authorities have embraced to encourage travel between countries deemed to be low-risk for coronavirus.  Air Malta said in its statement that it was seeing a gradual increase in bookings, but was too early to assess passengers' expectations and perceptions. 

(Source: timesofmalta.com, 20-Jul-2020)

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Air Malta relaunches scheduled service Malta-Madrid

After an absence of 12-years, Air Malta relaunched this morning scheduled service between Malta IAP and Madrid, the capital city of Spain.  

The first scheduled flight, operated with Airbus A320-200 (9H-AEP), departed from Malta IAP at 0912lt (KM-580) and the return flight landed at Malta IAP at 1509lt (KM-581).  Air Malta will operating this service twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  (18-Jul-2020)

Monday, July 13, 2020

Malta IAP strengthens its rescue & fire-fighting capabilities

Malta International Airport has further strengthened its rescue and fire-fighting capabilities with the arrival of the Rosenbauer Panther 8×8 fire truck from Austria.

The procurement of this low-emission rescue and fire-fighting vehicle, which is used at major international airports, forms part of Malta IAP's fleet modernisation programme entailing an investment of around €2.9 million.

As part of this investment, two Panther six-wheel-drive fire trucks are currently on order and expected to be added to Malta IAP's rescue and fire-fighting vehicle fleet in 2021.

The modern design and optimised features of the Panther fire trucks – including enhanced extinguishing power and inbuilt thermal imaging technology for low-visibility conditions – will enable the Rescue and Fire-Fighting team to respond faster and more efficiently to emergency situationes occurring in different scenarios.

Malta IAP has drawn up a training programme aimed at familiarising the Rescue and Fire-Fighting team with the functional features of the Panther trucks.  One such feature is the 8X8's high-reach extendable turret, which makes this vehicle ideal for high-precision response to emergencies at height.

Malta IAP's investment in these top-quality fire trucks supplied by one of the world’s leading providers of fire-fighting equipment further underscores the airport's strong commitment to safety and security.

(Source: maltairport.com, 13-Jul-2020)

Friday, July 10, 2020

Malta IAP releases half yearly traffic results

A look at the first half of 2020 shows that traffic through Malta International Airport totalled 1,017,850 passenger movements, translating into a drop of 68.7% over the same comparable period last year.

The year was off to a strong start, with the months of January and February registering double-digit growth of 14.2% and 17.3% respectively.

However, a diminishing demand for air travel resulting from Covid-19 observed at the beginning of March followed by the coming into effect of a travel ban closer to the end of the month, ushered in a most challenging quarter for Malta IAP.

During the second quarter, just over 8,700 passengers arrived in Malta or left the island on one of 311 humanitarian flights operated as commercial air traffic stood still.  3,348 passenger movements of this total were registered in June.

Since announcing its first 17 airport connections for the summer season back in June, Malta IAP has regularly updated its flight schedule to reflect the most recent developments.

At present, this schedule offers direct flights to 49 airports in 13 European countries, with more connections expected to be added in the coming days as Malta IAP continues to rebuild its route network.

(Source: maltairport.com, 9-Jul-20)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hi Fly's reconfigures its sole A380 for cargo operations

Hi Fly has created extra cargo capacity on its A380 (9H-MIP) by removing economy seats from much of the aircraft.  This is to meet the increased demand for cargo during the Covid-19 crisis.

The specially configured aircraft now offers more than 300 square meters of cargo volume, for close to 60 tons of cargo.  According to the photo released on the airline social media, apparently both decks of the plane were reconfigured.

The project to convert the 'Whale' in a full cargo plane was promoted in early May by Lufthansa Technik that stated they even had a request from an A380 owner for such a conversion but declined to name the airline.

(Source: airwaysmag.com, 7-Jul-2020)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Malta Air B738 diverts to Thessaloniki after a smoke detector activated

A Malta Air Boeing 737-800 (9H-QDT) performing flight FR-170 obo Ryanair from Berlin-Schoenefeld (Germany) to Athens (Greece) with 158 passengers and six crew, was en route at FL370 about 20nm south of Thessaloniki when a smoke detector activated.  

The crew declared emergency reporting smoke in the cockpit and diverted to Thessaloniki for a safe landing on RWY 16 about 23 minutes later. The smoke indication was determined false.  A replacement Ryanair B738 (EI-DPV) reached Athens with a delay of 3.5 hours. 

(Source: avherald.com, 3-Jul-2020)

Friday, July 3, 2020

Air Malta operates first ever flight to India

Air Malta achieved another milestone in its history when one of its aircraft flew towards India for the first time to repatriate 110 Indian citizens to Kerala during a government-paid repatriation flight.  The passenger plane left Malta on the 1st July and returned on the following day's evening. 

The trip was carried out in two parts in each direction during which after almost six hours of flight, the plane landed in Dubai for refueling and continued its voyage towards Cochin Kerala in India – a flight that took some four hours.

The flight to India was carried out with a new A320neo, piloted by captain B. Pace together with captains M. Cachia and N. Scicluna.  Crew members said they remained on the plane due to Covid restrictions and had to work in 12-hour shifts.

The Indian passengers expressed their gratitude for the Air Malta services and government arrangements for their repatriation. "Thank you, Malta Government for giving us a free flight," Jayakrishnan Mohnana said.

(Source: tvm.com.mt, 3-Jul-2020

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Albinati Aviation adds PC24 to its Maltese AOC



Registration:9H-JZM
ICAO Mode-S:4D229E
Construction No.:177
Aircraft Type:Pilatus PC-24
Operator:Albinati Aviation
Notes:ex HB-VZV

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Malta IAP re-opens its doors after the partial lifting of travel ban due to Covid-19

A Ryanair flight arriving from Vienna officially marked the re-opening of Malta International Airport following the partial lifting of a travel ban which came into effect in March.

Passengers arriving on board the first commercial flight to land in Malta in over three months were given a special welcome by the airport team in celebration of this important occasion for both Malta IAP and the local tourism industry.

By the end of the day, the airport will have seen a total of 13 departures and 11 arriving flights from airports in Austria, Poland, Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

Addressing a press conference held earlier today, Malta IAP CEO Mr A. Borg described the re-opening as the start of a challenging journey towards recovery and expressed his confidence that the close cooperation of all industry stakeholders would eventually lead to reaching sustainable tourism numbers once again.

Mr Borg went on to thank the airport team for their sterling work in getting the terminal ready for the re-opening, which was quite a feat given the many health and safety measures that had to be implemented to safeguard passengers’ and airport employees’ health.  He also thanked the Ministry for Tourism and the Malta Tourism Authority for the continuous support given to partner airlines as the Covid-19 situation evolved.

(Source: maltairport.com, 1-Jul-2020)