Thursday, May 13, 2021

SmartLynx Malta to adds five A330s with seats removed to target cargo

SmartLynx Airlines Malta is expanding its fleet with the addition of five Airbus A330 aircraft with seats removed as it looks to capitalise on high air cargo demand.

The ACMI and charter firm said that the aircraft will be added in May and June and will expand its fleet types beyond its existing A320 and A321 aircraft.

The updated A330 aircraft will carry cargo to and from Asia, U.S. and Europe.  They have a volume capacity of 260 cu m and a maximum cargo weight of 50,000kg.

The aircraft will be leased to sister company SmartLynx Airlines as it looks to expand in the cargo market — it will be one of the first airlines to operate converted A321 aircraft.

"We understand that eventually the long-haul cargo market will return to the pre-Covid levels, so SmartLynx Airlines plan to return the A330 to operate on long-haul passenger flights once that time comes.  We believe that our low-cost structure and great efficiency will allow us to create competition to market veterans," said Z. Surintas, chief executive of SmartLynx Airlines.

(Source: aircargonews.net, 13-May-2021)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Last German AF C160 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

A historical occasion at the Malta International Airshow is planned to occur at this year's event.  The German Air Force is sending the last operational C-160D Transall to Malta's show and this will be the last-ever public event for this aircraft in German AF service after a career stretching over 50 years.  The Malta Int'l Airshow Team is thrilled to be part of such history and thanks the German AF and the German Embassy for sharing a momentous occasion with us.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 12-May-2021)


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Malta IAP holds its 29th Annual General Meeting

Malta International Airport today held its 29th Annual General Meeting remotely, during which the company’s performance for the year ended 31-Dec-2020 as well as year-to-date traffic results were presented.

In his opening address, Malta IAP Chairman Mr N. Gretzmacher said that while nothing could have fully prepared the company for the unforeseen events of 2020, a decade of solid financial and traffic results had equipped Malta IAP with resilience to withstand the shocks of a crisis that brought the global aviation industry to its knees.

Mr Gretzmacher went on to note that the huge impact of the pandemic on the company's aviation and non-aviation activities had led revenue generated during the year under review to shrink by a staggering €68 million compared to 2019.  However, the timely implementation of a cost-cutting and liquidity preservation programme had enabled Malta IAP to soften the financial blow of the crisis and close the year with a net loss of €4.3 million.

Taking the floor after the Chairman, CEO Mr A. Borg gave a more in-depth review of the company's financial performance during 2020, following which the focus shifted to 2021.  Between January and April 2021, Malta IAP welcomed merely 137,887 passengers, signalling a drop of 92.6% over the same comparable period in 2019.

"2021 has been off to a challenging and slow start, but we are confident that the second half of the year will be better. Malta's strong vaccination drive is positioning the island as a safe leisure destination with both prospective travellers and airlines.  In fact, this summer, we expect almost 20 carriers – three of them being newcomers – to connect Malta IAP to more than 90 airports," said Mr Borg, whilst highlighting that the success of airport's summer schedule is highly dependent on the easing or removal of existing travel restrictions.

Mr Borg also welcomed the European Commission's recent proposal to ease restrictions on non-essential travel from outside the E.U. as another important step, in addition to ongoing trialogue negotiations on the Digital Green Certificate, towards the boosting of consumer confidence in air travel and the revival of the industry.

During the Annual General Meeting, it was revealed that, looking ahead, the company will continue to prioritise strategic investments whose immediate return can support Malta IAP's short to medium-term recovery.  The company’s commitment to continue working closely with government and partner airlines on restoring the island’s connectivity in a sustainable manner was also underscored as a priority in Malta IAP's recovery journey.

(Source: maltairport.com, 5-May-2021)

Cyprus Airways to commence Larnaca-Malta service in Jun-21

Cyprus Airways, the national flag carrier brand of Cyprus, continues to increase the number of its direct flights from Larnaca with the launch of its new direct flights between Larnaca and Malta, enhancing Mediterranean interconnectivity.

The inaugural flight from Larnaca to Malta will take off on June 27th, with the schedule flying twice weekly to Malta International Airport every Wednesday and Sunday until the end of October. Some new routes are expected to be announced soon.

(Source: Cyprus Airways, 4-May-2021)

Monday, May 3, 2021

E.U. border agency Frontex to deploy drone from Malta

A large drone is to be deployed from Malta in a multi-million euro mission that E.U. border protection agency Frontex hopes will help support longer rescue operations.

The agency last year awarded contracts totalling €100 million to Airbus and an Israeli arms company to operate remotely piloted aircraft systems for maritime aerial surveillance services.

A drone carried out a test flight from Malta IAP Friday, according to a source who provided photos of the aircraft.

"Often our planes have to return to base because of fuel limits, something that we saw last week when a Frontex plane spotted a boat in distress and alerted all Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres in the area," a spokesperson for Frontex said.

"When we learned that Italy had dispatched three merchant vessels, the plane had to return to base as it was running low on fuel and was in danger due to increasingly strong winds."

The drone will be used purely for border surveillance purposes and will not carry weapons, the spokesperson said.

Frontex was asked when the service will start to be provided from the island, which areas will come under surveillance, and which authority will be alerted to migrant movements.

The Frontex spokesperson said that it was too early to discuss such details. As with airplanes or boats used by the agency however, whenever a boat in distress is spotted, Frontex alerts all relevant national rescue centres, he said.

"We do hope that the drones will allow us to support rescue operations for longer periods of time," he added.

Times of Malta was unable to confirm if similar Frontex drones will also operate out of Greece and Italy.

In the central Mediterranean region, the rescue coordination centres are in Italy, Malta, Libya and Tunisia. In the most urgent cases, Frontex also issues an open distress call to all ships in the area of the search and rescue event.

Questions sent to the home and foreign affairs ministries remained unanswered.

(Source: timesofmalta.com, 3-May-2021)

Saturday, May 1, 2021

20 airlines to connect Malta with 90 destinations

As Malta prepares to open to tourism in a month’s time, the Malta International Airport is expected to welcome 20 airlines who, between them, will link Malta with 90 destinations during summer.

Interviewed by Television Malta, the company’s chief executive A. Borg said that the good rate of vaccination places Malta in the forefront for a summer tourism period.  The situation is fluid and much different from previous years when the summer schedule was closed between six and four months before.

“Various countries currently have restrictions, that is the numbers should be taken in the context of the information available now.  Without restrictions these things will happen; with restrictions they may change”.

He stated that this is a major factor that determines whether the airline operates or cancels a flight.  Comparing next summer’s schedule with the last good summer for tourism, Mr Borg said: “When comparing the 90 destinations with those of summer 2019, which were 130, I say that the government, MTA and our team did a very good job so that Malta will be on the radar of principle airlines in Europe”.

However, he added that the company is giving the highest priority to provide assurances to workers, other persons working at the airport and passengers about their health and safety.

Referring to the vaccination rollout success in Malta, MIA’s chief executive said that technology is an important tool to facilitate travel and suggested that an app is developed by next month with which passengers traveling to Malta will be able to fill before the requested information and send the form so that he will have a relaxing experience when he arrives in the country.

“Today, when passengers arrive they present the passenger locator form, health declaration card, and evidence they have the negative PCR test, depending on the country, however typically 72 hours before. I think that if a passenger fills at home this information which is verified before he arrives, he will not wait in queues and this makes a great difference.”

(Source: tvm.com.mt, 1-May-2021)

Friday, April 30, 2021

Air Malta launches its summer 2021 flight schedule

Today Air Malta launched its summer flight schedule with a planned operation to 20 cities.  During the six-month program (covering May till October 2021), the airline is committed to operate 3,012 flights and will offer for sale over half a million seats.

Commenting on this plan, Air Malta's CCO R. Kinnear stated, "This schedule delivers a strong message of commitment by the airline towards the local and international tourism industry.  The schedule focuses on Malta's core markets for inbound tourism and is in line with Air Malta's strategy of being a point-to-point carrier operating to major European cities and major airports attaching to larger network airlines through key interline partnerships and code-sharing agreements."

This summer the airline will operate direct flights to/from Amsterdam, Brussels, Catania, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon, London-Heathrow, Lyon, Manchester, Munich, Milan Linate, Moscow*, Palermo, Paris-Charles De Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Prague, Rome, Tel Aviv*, Vienna, and Zurich. (* - operations to these airports is subject to the opening of safe corridors)

Key highlights during peak season include:

·       Up to 10 weekly services on London-Heathrow.

·       Twice weekly services to Manchester, supporting the Midlands and North of the UK.

·       Up to 11 weekly services on Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris.

·       Up to 9 weekly services on Catania.

·       Rome, Munich, and Vienna all served up to 5 times weekly.

Speaking about recent developments, Air Malta's Executive Chairman D.G. Curmi said, "We are happy to note the gradual increase of consumer confidence and propensity to travel this summer.  This increase, driven primarily by the success of the vaccination roll-outs in many countries, especially in Malta, augurs well for an easing of travel restrictions and a restart in tourism this summer. We are happy to be part of the process and help re-open our Islands to tourism".

(Source: Air Malta, 30-Apr-2021)

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Tunisian AF L-59 for 2021 Malta Internnational Airshow

An L-59T Super Albatros jet trainer of the Tunisian Air Force will join the OH-58D already confirmed for participation at this year's event by the same country's air arm. The Tunisian Air Force took delivery of 12 L-59Ts beginning in 1995.  The participation of the Tunisian Air Force at the Malta International Airshow adds to the growing list of participants at this year's September event.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 28-Apr-2021)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

European Pilot Academy SIRA veers off runway at Malta IAP

A European Pilot Academy Tecnam P2000JF (9HVLT) veered off the runway during the roll-out after landing on RWY 31 at Malta IAP.  The incident happened this morning around 1155lt.  Malta IAP's fire and rescue service where quickly on the scene to provide assistance.  The main runway 13/31 had to be temporarily closed with flight operations shifting on smaller runway 23/05.

(20-Apr-2021)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Flydubai postpones all flights to Malta as airline shifts to reduced schedule

Flydubai has postponed all flights to Malta until October as the airline shifts to a reduced schedule for the coming months. To the surprise of many passengers, flydubai abruptly cancelled all flights to Malta with those who have bookings given a one-year expiry voucher. 

"Flydubai flights have resumed on a reduced schedule.  Destinations and flight frequencies will continue to be added to the schedule over the summer," a representative of the airline told Lovin Malta.  "As of now, flydubai to and from Malta will be available on 1st October 2021," she said.

(Source: lovinmalta.com, 19-Apr-2021)

Friday, April 16, 2021

Air Malta unveils its May schedule

Air Malta will be operating 26 weekly flights to and from 11 destinations in May.  The airline will be flying to and from Amsterdam, Brussels, Catania, Frankfurt, London, Lyon, Milan, Paris (Charles de Gaule and Orly), Rome and Zurich.

Air Malta's CCO R. Kinnear said that while the current flight schedule was still significantly sparser than it was in summer 2019, the airline was constantly monitoring and adapting the network and schedule to ensure essential passenger and cargo connectivity to and from the Maltese Islands and main city airports.  

He welcomed the success of the vaccination roll-outs in many countries, especially in Malta saying that this "augurs well for a restart in tourism".  The airline, he said, encouraged efforts to speed up this process.  Together with initiatives like the digital green certificate it was confident and encouraged that the road to recovery will open up. 

The airline stressed that travel health requirements are the prerogative of the health authorities of the countries from which the airline operates and that it will continue to abide by all as directed.  Safety for its customers and crew continued to be its top priority.

(Source: timesofmalta.com, 16-Apr-2021)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Ryanair announces five new Malta routes to Italy and Greece for summer

Ryanair today announced five new Malta routes to Brindisi, Cagliari, Genoa and Trapani in Italy and Chania in Greece, all operating twice weekly as part of Malta’s Summer 2021 schedule.  These new routes will be operated mainly by Malta Air, from its Malta base.

Malta Air CEO D. O'Brien said Ryanair was committed to investing heavily in providing connectivity to and from Malta, and its Summer ’21 schedule will boost air traffic and lead the recovery of Maltese tourism.  

With the new routes, Ryanair will be connecting Malta to 57 routes in 19 countries, through 155 weekly flights.  It will have six aircraft based in Malta.  O’Brien said that Malta Air would be taking delivery of the first of six B737-8200 aircraft in May.

(Source: maltatoday.com.mt, 14-Apr-21)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Malta IAP releases traffic results for March 2021

Passenger traffic through Malta International Airport totalled 32,033 movements last March.  Translating into a drop of 93% to the same month in 2019, this traffic result reflects the hurdles – including low consumer confidence – still being faced by the aviation industry a year into the Covid-19 pandemic.

A rapid vaccination roll-out among the local population together with government’s recently announced plan for the restart of tourism on the 1st of June bode well for the second half of the year.  However, the successful revival of air travel is also highly dependent on the restoration of consumer confidence in the industry in the build-up to summer.

(Source: maltairport.com, 8-Apr-2021)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

VistaJet takes delivery of its first Global 7500s, orders ten additional Challenger 350s

VistaJet today announces additions to its state-of-the-art infrastructure with the delivery of the first two of its Global 7500 aircraft, ready for commercial availability, and the order of ten new Challenger 350 planes, from long-standing partner Bombardier.

(Source: VistaJet, 6-Apr-2021)

Friday, April 2, 2021

Ryanair B738 under tow collides with a line of parked fuel bowsers at Malta IAP

A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 (9H-QCJ) has collided into a line of parked fuel bowsers parked on apron 1 at Malta IAP.  The B738 was under tow when the incident happened this morning around 1130lt.  It appears that the towbar snapped leaving the aircraft freewheeling across the airfield.  No passengers were on board the aircraft and no injuries have been reported as a result of this incident. 

Malta IAP's Rescue and Fire Fighting team was quick on the scene, taking control of the area in question.  Consequently, the aerodrome was temporarily closed effecting two flights inbound to Malta IAP.  Lufthansa's LH1276 from Frankfurt had to divert to Catania-Fontanarossa, while Tunisair Express' UG1300 from Tunis-Carthage had to return back to Tunis-Carthage.  The aerodrome was re-opened again to flight operations around 1220lt.

(Source: Malta IAP and simpleflying.com, 2-Apr-2021)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Belgian AF C130 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

The Belgian AF confirmed with us this week that it will be sending one of the last remaining operational C-130H Hercules.  This will also be the last static display of this popular heavy work horse of military transport.  The Malta Aviation Society is honoured to be hosting the Belgian AF and specifically the crew of the last operational Hercules in the air arm.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 31-Mar-2021)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Private Microlight nose wheel collapses on landing at Malta IAP

Earlier today runway 23 at Malta International Airport was closed for some time after a Fly Synthesis Storch Microlight, registered 9H-UMS had a nose wheel collapse upon landing.  The aircraft stopped on the runway metres away from the threshold.  

(Source: Malta Avaition Outlook; Photo: Carl Camilleri, 27-Mar-2021)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Malta Air's 1st Boeing 737-8200 breaks cover

The first Boeing 737-8200 MAX bound for Ryanair's subsidiary Malta Air has revealed its livery.  9H-VUA was spotted leaving the production line in Renton (WA).  The aircraft form part of the Ryanair Group's firm orders for 210 737-8200 MAX aircraft due to be delivered to the low-cost carrier over the coming years.  Two aircraft have been identified, being line numbers 8003 and 8019.  However, the tie-up and construction numbers are not yet known.

(Source: scramble.nl / Photo: Capt N. D'Amato via Malta Aviation Outlook, 26-Mar-2021)

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Britten-Norman signs contract to deliver a major upgrade programme for AFM

An agreement has just been signed between the Maltese Government and Britten-Norman that will lead to a significant mid-life update for Armed Forces Malta's (AFM) Islander aircraft.  Following on from a previous upgrade that brought new mission sensors to the aircraft and an upgrade from piston engines to the Rolls Royce Model 250 turboprop, the latest changes will now include a major update to the cockpit with enhanced Search & Rescues functionality and a new capability of Performance Based Navigation.

At the centre of the upgrade to the aircraft is the installation of a new Garmin G600TXi glass cockpit, with the GTN750Xi and GTN 650Xi NAV/COMM/GPS.  The Garmin G600TXi provides a cost effective and practical solution to upgrading the Islander and is a modification available through Britten-Norman for both the piston and turboprop variants.  Also to be installed is the latest addition to the Garmin avionics suite, the GI275, an extremely versatile multi-function display that can act as a primary or, as in this installation, as a reversionary secondary display with integral battery.  The GI275 is also available for both piston and turboprop Islanders and can be reconfigured as an HSI or as an electronic engine instrument.

These improvements to the Islander bring the aircraft to the very latest operating standard and will greatly enhance the aircraft's core capabilities.  Coupled with the Genesys System 55X autopilot, the Garmin G600TXi can be configured to provide automatic search patterns for Search & Rescue operations, reducing pilot workload and providing dramatic improvements to mission success rates.

The powerful electronic touchscreen flight instrumentation will replace existing analogue gauges. This will reduce maintenance costs as well as providing greater access to aircraft performance data and operating parameters.

Other elements of the mid-life update will include a full deep maintenance check, upgrade to the interior with an all-new UK designed and manufactured trim kit, seat and upholstery refurbishment and a full refinish of the aircraft exterior.

Capt. C. Grech said "The Armed Forces of Malta have operated Britten-Norman Islanders for over 25 years.  The BN2T Turbine Islander is integral to our coastal search and rescue operations, fisheries protection and other land/maritime security operations.  With the aircraft’s stability, low-speed handling and endurance, the Islander is an essential asset which will continue to assist in maintaining the integrity of the Maltese waters.  In recent times, flight display and engine information systems have advanced significantly.  We are confident that acquiring these sophisticated avionic systems will positively impact our specialist operations and minimise the pilot's visual workload."

W. Hynett, Chief Executive at Britten-Norman stated "We are really pleased to have been selected to carry out this important major mid-life upgrade programme for Armed Forces Malta.  Britten-Norman has had a close relationship with Malta that extends over many years.  We particularly enjoy working with AFM, where we have an ongoing commitment to provide training.  We look forward to welcoming the team for the latest round of training at our newly established facilities at Malta IAP.  In 2021 we will also be establishing our new European Union maintenance facility in Malta, from which we will be launching our new air charter operation."

(Source: britten-norman.com, 25-Mar-2021)

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Tunisian AF OH-58 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

The Tunisian Air Force has informed the Malta airshow team of its intention to participate at the Malta event for the very first time.  An OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter will make its appearance this September.  This will also mark the first time a Kiowa Warrior visits Malta.  The Malta International Airshow Team is highly appreciative of the Tunisian Air Force's participation.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 17-Mar-2021)

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Malta IAP releases traffic results for February 2021

In February, passenger traffic through Malta International Airport dipped to an all-time low since the airport's reopening to commercial flights in July 2020.

Totalling just 27,524 passenger movements, February traffic registered a drop of 93.5% over the same month in 2020.  Amongst the airport's top ten markets, the United Kingdom registered the largest drop in passenger numbers as a ban restricting travel between the two countries remained in place.

Last February marked a year since Malta IAP first reported the early effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, manifested in declining seat load factors  – particularly on Italian routes – as the demand for air travel started to wane towards the end of the month.

With consumer confidence and air travel demand remaining particularly low, seat capacity deployed by airlines in February 2021 was at just 10% of February 2020 levels.  Standing at 52.5%, last month’s seat load factor showed that just over half the seats available on flights to and from Malta were occupied.

(Source: maltaiport.com, 10-Mar-2020

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Malta IAP wins 'Best Airport' award for the third consecutive year

Malta International Airport is among the winners of Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Service Quality Awards for 2020, claiming the title 'Best Airport in Europe' in its size category for the third consecutive year.

ACI on Monday announced the winners of these prestigious industry awards following the rating of 348 airports worldwide by 306,673 passengers throughout 2020 bar the second quarter.  A total of 1,044 departing passengers rated Malta IAP based on 34 key performance indicators related to the service provided and facilities offered.

Malta IAP registered an improvement on most indicators compared to 2019, earning top scores from its guests for ease of way finding (4.50), cleanliness (4.49), staff courtesy (4.45), and safety and security (4.40).  The airport ended the year with an all-time high overall satisfaction score of 4.46, surpassing the European average which stood at 4.28.

An analysis of the feedback received revealed that, while waiting time ranked first among customers' top priorities prior to Covid-19, following the outbreak of the pandemic, cleanliness topped guests’ priority list, clearly indicating a shift in passengers’ expectations of their airport experience.

(Source: maltairport.com, 3-Mar-2021)

Danish AF CL60 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

Denmark, and precisely the Royal Danish Air Force, has informed the Malta International Airshow Team of its intention to join us for this year's event with a CL-604 Challenger.  Denmark now joins Switzerland in the growing list of participating countries at this year's Malta's premier aviation event.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 3-Mar-2021)


Thursday, February 25, 2021

DHL Express and SmartLynx Malta sign partnership agreement

Express service provider DHL Express and SmartLynx Malta have signed a new partnership agreement for the introduction of two newly converted Airbus A321-200 freighters joining DHL's European air fleet. 

The new technically advanced narrow-body fleet type is adding capacity to meet the increasing demand for express cargo transportation worldwide combined with further improving DHL's unit CO2 emissions by introducing the most fuel efficient narrow-body aircraft in its class.

SmartLynx Malta is planning to add two additional A321Fs during 2021 and up to four units during 2022, with a business target of becoming one of the largest narrow-body cargo freight carriers within the next three years.

(Source: avitrader.com, 25-Feb-2021)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Malta IAP publishes its financial results for 2020

Malta International Airport today published the financial results for 2020, reporting a drop of €68 million (-67.9%) in the total revenue generated by the Group during the year under review compared to 2019.

Malta IAP's passenger traffic for 2020 suffered a staggering drop of 76.1% as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, leading to the worst traffic result and the first loss-making year for the Group since the airport's privatisation in 2002.

Malta IAP plc's financial statements show that while revenue from the Company's aviation segment registered a drop of 74.8%, revenue from the non-aviation segment, which includes rents, parking, and VIP products, dropped 51.4%.

In contrast with 2019, when the Group had closed the year with profit after tax amounting to €33.9 million, Malta IAP plc ended 2020 with a net loss of €4.3 million at Group level.

The Group's financial statements also show that, through a strict cost-cutting and liquidity preservation programme, Malta IAP plc had succeeded in lowering its total expenditure to €26.6 million (-28.3%) during the reporting period. 

Group staff costs registered a decrease of €2.2 million (-20.2%), which resulted from the Covid Wage Supplement Scheme and temporary salary reductions between April and July 2020, while operating expenditure decreased by €8.3 million (-31.8%).

(Source: maltairport.com, 24-Feb-2021)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Swiss AF F/A-18 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

The Swiss Air Force has informed the Malta International Airshow Team of its planned participation at Malta's premier aerial event by way of an F/A-18 Hornet.  The Malta Airshow Team welcomes the Swiss Hornet Display Team to Malta's skies this September.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 17-Feb-2021)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Gulf Med to invest in helicopters services

Gulf Med, which was established in Malta five years ago, is a joint venture between a Maltese company which offers medical services including in the evacuation of persons from remote areas such as oil rigs, and a helicopter company based in Qatar.

Emma Finley-Broadbelt, the company chief executive which specializes in helicopter repairs, stated that the company registered success stories during the past two years, including a contract to make repairs on the Cypriot Police helicopter fleet.  Last year, the company was awarded a similar contract by the Croatian government, while it invested in a helicopter which is used to transport patients from the Gozo hospital to Malta.

Ms Finley-Broadbelt added that, despite the pandemic’s challenge on the aviation sector, the company will be taking over the helicopters services from its partner – Gulf Helicopters Company.  This will lead to the operation of flights towards oil rigs in West Africa, among others.

"We will be required to make some significant investments, which will include our aircraft maintenance training organisation, so as we develop we will be able to keep pace with the requirements for personnel by developing local talent," Finley-Broadbelt stated.

The Gulf Med chief executive stated that they will collaborate with the University of Malta and MCAST in order to implement this step.  The company will also invest in infrastructure and new equipment.

(Source: tvm.com.mt, 16-Feb-2021)

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Swiss AF P-7 Team confirms participation at 2021 Malta International Airshow

This year's planned edition of the Malta International Airshow will see Swiss precision at its very best. 

The Malta Airshow team has received official confirmation of participation by the Swiss PC-7 TEAM at the Malta International Airshow 2021.

The team flies a formation of nine Swiss-made PC-7 advanced trainer turboprop aircraft and has always been a favourite with the Maltese public whenever the team visited Malta in previous editions.

The Malta International Airshow Team warmly welcomes the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team to Malta's skies this September.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 11-Feb-2021)

Alitalia flight AZ884 to Malta IAP rejects take-off from Rome-Fiumico due to a bird strike

An Alitalia Airbus A319-100 (EI-IMM), performing flight AZ-884 (on 9-Feb-2021) from Rome-Fiumicino (Italy) to Malta IAP (Malta), was accelerating for take-off from Fiumicino's RWY 25 when the crew rejected take-off at high speed (about 110 knots over ground) due to a bird strike.  The aircraft slowed safely and returned to the apron.  A replacement A319 (EI-IMG) reached Malta with a delay of 2.5 hours.

A passenger reported they heard a bang from the left hand side and an orange flash from the left engine (CFM56), immediately afterwards the brakes came on.  The flight attendants announced the take-off had been aborted and more information would follow, the captain subsequently announced that a bird strike had occurred, they would disembark and board another aircraft. 

(Source: avherald.com, 11-Feb-2021)

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Air Malta to cut unprofitable routes, staff costs

Air Malta plans to cut unprofitable routes and needs to slash its payroll costs further to improve its financial health, Executive Chairman D. Curmi has said.  The under pressure national airline has been "dismantled" by the pandemic and its effects have been "very difficult to overcome" Curmi told a tourism industry webinar on Tuesday.

He revealed the airline is preparing to drop routes which are "unprofitable" and plans to instead focus "on core destinations".  He did not detail the routes to be cut nor give any indication as to how many would be shelved.  An Air Malta spokesperson later confirmed that the organisation would focus on the U.K., France, Germany and Italy for "the immediate future", with routes and frequencies to pick up in the future.

Air Malta, which has already cut salaries and made hundreds of pilots and cabin crew redundant, will have to reduce payroll costs further to strengthen its balance sheet.  Curmi revealed the €50 million payroll was a huge cost for the airline.  "We cannot run this airline on such a payroll and we will be taking the necessary actions in this regard," he said, without going into any further details. 

Curmi said that despite the challenges, the airline has continued to operate to fewer destinations and was one of the only forms of connectivity during the peak of the pandemic.  But he said that Air Malta planes are leased at very high rates, where one aircraft costs around €10 million to run. "We currently have eight planes, therefore we see a cost of €80 million."

When asked what must be done to safeguard Air Malta, Curmi said that some "bold decisions" must be made and the airline will continue working closely with stakeholders such as the government, MHRA and MTA.

He said that the airline is in discussions to ensure that by 2024 Air Malta would replace older planes with newer ones which would be more cost efficient and also save fuel bills by 20%.  "The key goal is to safeguard Air Malta, and that means we must think in terms of efficiency, cost reductions and also increasing revenue," he said.

(Source: timesofmalta.com, 9-Feb-2021)

Malta IAP releases traffic results for Jan-21

Malta International Airport started what is set to be another challenging year for the aviation industry with a drop of 90.7% in January passenger traffic.

During the month of January, 38,938 passengers travelled through Malta IAP, with this monthly total being comparable to the traffic handled by the airport in three days in January 2020.

The airport's weakest traffic result since its reopening in Jul-20 comes in the wake of the implementation of new travel bans and more stringent requirements in source markets such as the U.K. the Netherlands and Belgium.

Having slid four places when compared to Jan-20, the U.K. ranked sixth in Malta IAP's top market list, with Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, and Belgium all outperforming it in terms of passenger movements.

Malta IAP registered significant drops in weekly flight frequencies for January.  From among Malta IAP's top airports for the month, Rome Fiumicino was hit hardest, as the 27 weekly flights operated in Jan-20 were whittled down to just eight last month.

Changing travel requirements and restrictions also had an impact on overall connectivity, with Malta IAP's direct connections being limited to just 28 scheduled routes in January 2021 as opposed to 99 scheduled routes operated in Jan-20.

(Source: maltairport.com, 9-Feb-2021) 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Luxwing Phenom 100 lands at Paris-Le Bourget with the landing gear retracted

A small Embraer Phenom 100 business jet registered 9H-FAM belonging to Maltese airline Luxwing landed at Paris-Le Bourget airport with the landing gear retracted this morning at around 11:00.  

In a shower of sparks and flames, the aircraft skidded for several hundred meters before coming to a stop at the threshold of the runway.  A fire broke out but it was taken under control in less than a minute by the firefighters already present on site.

There were three persons on board, including the two pilots.  These were taken care of by the emergency services for simple checks, according to the press service of AĆ©roports de Paris.  Air traffic at Le Bourget was diverted for a few hours.

An investigation by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis of Civil Aviation is underway to try to understand the reasons for the accident.

(Source: aviation24.be, 8-Feb-2021)

Thursday, February 4, 2021

TM CAD issues Part-145 approval certificate to Aviet Technic Ltd.

Transport Malta (TM) Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) is glad to announce the issuance of a Part-145 approval certificate (MT.145.17) to Aviet Technic Ltd. 

Aviet is the latest addition to the Malta aviation cluster and will provide line maintenance service in the Maltese islands and abroad.  Director General of TM CAD C. Pace has said that "The company worked very hard to achieve certification and CAD is extremely happy with the commitment shown by the company in question.  I thank the management for selecting Malta as their jurisdiction of choice and I look forward to working with them."  

Aviet Technic Ltd. have decided to move their maintanence activities to Malta, due to its strategic location and primary focus in the aviation sector.  A. Zois for Aviet said that "The aviation maintenance industry that exists in Malta provides the best environment for our activities which also include our maintenance training organisation.  More will follow.  We are just getting started for a long term journey!"

(Source: transport.gov.mt, 4-Feb-2021)

Thursday, January 28, 2021

SkyUp Airlines to launch Kiev-Malta flights from 29-May

Ukranian's low cost airline SkyUp Airlines has announced it will operate a direct flight form Kiev (Ukraine) to Malta from May.  The move comes despite the impact of Covid-19 on travel that has seen nearly half of Malta's air routes cancelled in less than a year.  In a statement encouraging its customers to "get prepared for summer on the islands", Skyup said the flights would operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May 29th.

(Source: timesofmalta.com, 28-Jan-2021)

Monday, January 25, 2021

Fly Dubai will start flights to Malta on 12-May

Fly Dubai has announced that it will start flying to Malta four times a week from 12 May on a route that also includes Catania in Sicily.  The carrier will be the first to offer a direct link with the United Arab Emirates after the Covid-19 pandemic saw Emirates pull out of Malta.  The itinerary that includes Malta was announced on the same day that the airline said it will operate flights to Catania, Naples and Salzburg.

(Source: maltatoday.com, 25-Jan-2021)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Malta IAP closes 2020 with 76% drop passenger traffic

Malta International Airport ended what was initially set to be another year of traffic growth with 1,748,050 passenger movements, translating in a drop of 76.1% over 2019.

This is the lowest traffic result to be reported by Malta IAP plc since the company assumed management of the air terminal in 2002, when full-year traffic amounted to 2.6 million passenger movements.

Standing at just 10% of what was reported in December 2019, traffic for the last month of the year – which brought a decade of growth at Malta IAP to an end – amounted to 46,475 passenger movements.

Data made available by Airports Council International shows that European airports in general suffered the same plight last year, with this airport group registering an overall contraction in passenger traffic of 79.6% and reporting the cumulative loss of over 6,000 routes.

Several international industry organisations are predicting that, following an extremely rocky first quarter of 2021, the tourism industry may expect to start seeing signs of recovery with the onset of the summer season.

(Source: maltairport.com, 20-Jan-2021)

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Air Malta launches its second ‘lifeline schedule’

Air Malta has launched its second ‘lifeline schedule’ in the midst of the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic all over Europe.

The schedule, intended to ensure essential passenger and cargo connectivity to and from the Maltese islands to key airports, starts  Wednesday 27 January.

For now, the lifeline schedule is being introduced until the end of February, however, following evaluations in the coming weeks on developments throughout Europe, Air Malta will consider whether to extend it further.

The national airline has been at the forefront in efforts to ensure essential passenger connectivity to selected major European cities as well as a continuous connectivity for cargo, mail and essential medical supplies including the Covid-19 vaccine and other resources that are critical to the islands’ supply chain.

Air Malta will be operating 19 weekly return flights to eight destinations: Amsterdam (Tue, Sun), Brussels (Fri, Sun), Catania (Mon, Fri), Frankfurt (Mon, Wed, Sun), London Heathrow (Mon, Wed, Fri), Paris Charles De Gaulle (Mon, Fri), Rome (Mon, Wed, Fri) and Zurich (Mon, Fri).

(Source: maltatoday.com.mt, 12-Jan-2021)