Thursday, October 29, 2020

Air Malta winter schedule guarantees connectivity

Whatever the circumstances, Air Malta is committed to operating 82 flights a week to 15 destinations in Europe in the coming months.  This despite the fact that the winter schedule announced by the national airline includes almost twice as many flights.

The national airline has launched the winter flight schedule, Business Guaranteed, with 156 flights per week.  Air Malta is guaranteeing to fly to 15 out of 21 destinations, regardless of how the situation regarding Covid-19 develops.

The Minister for the Economy S. Schembri said that this guarantee offered reassurance and peace of mind to those who choose to travel with Air Malta – i.e that flights continue to operate even with a few passengers on board.

The Chairman of Air Malta C. Mangion said that the company had carried out crucial work in recent months by carrying medical goods and supplies and has carried out more than 500 repatriation flights carrying 13,000 passengers.  He said the winter schedule is 45% less than last year's winter schedule.

Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer P. Sies said that he was hopeful that Air Malta would cope even during these challenging times. "If the situation improves, then we believe that we’ll have people coming to Malta for a weekend break, a very good example, till last week, until yesterday, the Swiss Market was red coded but overnight it has become orange," said Mr Sies.

(Source: tvm.com.mt, 29-Oct-2020)

Libya and Malta sign transport MoU allowing for Medavia flight resumption and Maltese registration of Libyan carrier

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Libya and Malta on cooperation in the field of aviation and maritime transport, the Libyan Airports Authority (LAA) reported yesterday.

The MoU included an agreement to resume flights between the two countries through the Mediterranean Aviation Company (Medavia), provided that the necessary anti-Coronavirus pandemic measures are observed. 

The registration of one of Libyan Airlines' aircraft in Malta, to circumvent the current E.U. Libya flight ban, as well as and the contribution of the Maltese institutions in raising the efficiency of Libyan cadres in the field of aviation and airports, was also agreed in the MoU.

It will be recalled that the LAA had reported on Aug. 3rd that a specialist delegation from the Maltese Civil Aviation Authority had visited Mitiga airport to "inspect and evaluate the airport and its facilities and determine the possibility of operating scheduled commercial flights between Libya and Malta".

During the visit, the Maltese delegation conducted an inspection tour of some airport facilities, including the passenger terminal, baggage screening area, air control tower, aircraft parking lot and the perimeter fence, in addition to checking the automatic baggage checks and identifying the procedures to be followed by passengers from arrival at the airport until leaving, in order to ensure that they conform to the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

(Source: libyaherald.com, 29-Oct-2020)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Wizz Air UK launches new service between London-Gatwick and Malta IAP

Wizz Air UK has launched today direct flights between London-Gatwick (U.K.) and Malta IAP.  The first scheduled flight, operated with Airbus A320-200 (G-WUKD), landed at Malta IAP at 0959lt (W6-5705).  The aircraft departed after turnaround to London-Gatwick at 1053lt (W6-5706).  Wizz Air UK will be operating this service three times weekly: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  

(Source: flightradar24.com & maltairport.com, 23-Oct-2020)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Government requests state aid for national airline

The Maltese Government has filed a formal state aid application with the European Commission in order to provide Air Malta with financial assistance.  

Finance Minister Prof. E. Scicluna said that the government will look at helping the airline to recover losses garnered during the pandemic.  He said throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Air Malta operated with a 'life line schedule' in order to ensure the country's connectivity with the rest of Europe.  It was also crucial in repatriating Maltese caught outside the country when lockdowns were being deployed across the world.

In April, Air Malta forecasted €130 million in Covid-19 losses.  The scale of losses represents the greatest challenge the national airline will face, with government sources privy to the financial situation inside Air Malta saying they forecast a gradual return to business in 2021.  Some €30 million will be lost just in ticket refunds, while another €100 million will be direct losses from Covid-19 costs.

(Source: maltatoday.com, 19-Oct-2020) 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Air Atlanta Icelandic to launch Maltese subsidiary next year

Wet-lease specialist Air Atlanta Icelandic is creating a new airline, Air Atlanta Europe, to begin operations next year.

The lessor is applying for an AOC in Malta, popular with airlines for its tax and financial benefits, as well as E.U. membership.

It added that the move would "increase its competitiveness in the ACMI market, post Covid-19", while giving it increased market reach and access for ACMI and charter operations.

The airline currently operates a fleet of nine 747-400 freighters, has six 747-400 passenger variants and an A340.  Freighter customers include Astral Aviation, which has two, Magma Aviation, which has four, and Saudia Cargo, which has two.

Pre-Covid, Air Atlanta intended to launch passenger operations with 777s and A330s, but it has changed strategy, and instead shored-up its freighter fleet with two additional 747Fs this summer.

Chief executive Baldvin Mar Hermannsson told The Loadstar in May "freight is our lifeline now", noting that its passenger business dried up fast, which saw it lose 70% of its revenues initially.

"ACMI is always the first capacity to be shed in a downturn.  It’s a fact of the business model we operate.  For us it was a massive hit."

In a statement today, Mr Hermannsson said:  "The foundation of Air Atlanta Europe in Malta is an important step for us to strengthen both current and future operations in an ever-increasingly competitive ACMI market."

(Source:  theloadstar.com, 16-Oct-2020)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

SmartLynx Malta to introduce A321 freighters

Wet-lease and charter specialist SmartLynx's Maltese division is to lease a pair of Airbus A321s which have been converted to freighters.  

SmartLynx Malta says it will lease the twinjets – MSN891 and MSN1017 – from Vallair in order to enter the freighter market.

It adds that it holding discussions for further aircraft, with a view to venturing deeper into the sector by acquiring up to ten A321s by 2023.

The aircraft have undergone conversion by separate companies, U.S.-based 321 Precision Conversions and the German-based EFW.

"Both are high-quality products and – despite minor differences in direct operational costs – [we] decided to go with both [conversions] to be able to offer its customer flexibility to compare and choose according to their requirements," says SmartLynx Malta.

(Source: flightglobal.com, 15-Oct-2020)

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Malta IAP releases traffic results for Sep & 3Q 2020

September traffic through Malta International Airport registered a drop of 83.1% when compared to the same month in 2019, with passenger movements totalling 128,664.

Aircraft movements and seat capacity for the month of September decreased by 57.9% cent and 59.9% respectively.  Seat load factor for the month registered a drop of 49.9% to stand at 36.3%.

The top markets for the month of September were Germany (-71.4%), Italy (-83.1%), the United Kingdom (-89.2%), France (-73.1%) and Austria (-55.4%).

September brought quarter three to a close with a 77.6% contraction in passenger traffic when compared to the same period in 2019.

Within this three-month period, peak recovery levels were observed in August – particularly in the first two weeks of the month – with passenger numbers increasing by 64.9% over July 2020.

The introduction of Malta's amber list together with other travel restrictions led to a downward trend in the second half of August, which persisted in September. September traffic, in fact, was approximately half of the traffic registered in August.

(Source: maltairport.com, 8-Oct-2020)