Malta International Airport expects 7.2 million passengers to pass through its gates this year, the company’s chief executive officer Alan Borg revealed last Wednesday.
If achieved, the figure would represent a 25 per cent increase in passenger numbers over 2022 and fall just shy of the 7.3 million record achieved in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airport’s 7.2 million forecast is also higher than what the airport was initially expecting. Earlier this year, airport CEO Alan Borg said the airport expected to welcome 6.3 million passengers by the end of 2023.
Borg said that in the first half of 2023, over 3.4 million passengers travelled through the airport, showing an increase of 5.6% over 2019.
The airport CEO was speaking at a press conference called to announce MIA’s mid-year traffic results, forecasts for the rest of the year and updates on its investments.
He highlighted how airport traffic exceeded 700,000 passengers in April, surpassing 2019 levels by 8.4%.
The airport registered buoyant monthly seat load factors (SLF) that peaked in June at 86% and outperformed both 2022 and 2019 levels, he said.
Despite the airport’s strong results in the first half of the year, Borg noted that demand and appetite for travel could slowly calm down.
Quoting a European Travel Commission travel sentiment survey, he said that 20% of respondents said they were “unlikely to travel” over the next six months.
“While inflationary pressures and higher ticket prices have not yet dampened the demand for travel, such factors could have a dampening effect later on in the year,” he said.
“I predict that this strong demand will continue until the end of September, and then we will see traffic begin to slow down.”
Like previous years, the top markets remained Italy and the UK, followed by France, Germany and Poland. He said the airport welcomed 822,810 passengers from Italy between January and June this year and noted a slight drop in the second-highest market share- UK passengers. He linked this drop in UK passengers due to the drop in seat capacities provided by both airlines, Air Malta and Ryanair. He said both France and Poland markets have increased, rising by 51% and 55% respectively.
When it comes to airlines, similar to previous years, budget airline Ryanair dominated the market, retaining the highest market share (43%) followed by Air Malta (26%).
He noted that Ryanair’s market share has grown by 25% since 2019, while Air Malta’s has decreased by 4%.
Moving the topic to the airport’s investments in airfield infrastructure and terminal upgrades, Borg said the construction works on the €40 million Apron X project are underway, following the start of excavations at the end of 2022. He said that phase one of the project is set to be concluded by summer 2024, with the first three parking stands in operation. The airport’s second runway, RWY 23-05, will be getting a complete overhaul with an investment of €14 million, with works expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. Once this is completed, works on another runway, RWY 31-13, will begin, including resurfacing and lighting replacements. Works to expand the airport terminal will begin this year and are expected to continue until the end of 2024, he said. The terminal will also be benefitting from upgrades to its heating and ventilation systems.
Initially announced in 2018, the terminal expansion project was paused in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic brought airline travel to a virtual standstill.
Article credits: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/airport-targets-72-million-passengers-end-year.1047289MIA Reports Record Traffic Surpassing Pre-Pandemic Levels
Malta International Airport reports record mid-year traffic results for 2023, MIA CEO Alan Borg revealed in the company’s revised forecast.
In a recent press conference, he stated that traffic is expected to return to 2019 levels by the end of this year.
In the first half of 2023, MIA registered an impressive 3.43 million passengers. This figure not only surpasses 2019’s highs by 5.6% but also places MIA among the 48% of European airports whose mid-year passenger volumes exceeded pre-pandemic traffic.
The airport also reported a monthly seat load factors that hit a high of 86% in June, outperforming both 2022 and 2019 figures.
Despite global economic challenges, these results indicate a sustained interest in travel to the Maltese Islands. Borg, however, warned that the inflation and rising airfares, noted in a recent travel survey by the European Travel Commission, may begin to depress travel demand across Europe.
The CEO also highlighted the importance of maintaining momentum, stating:
“We are extremely satisfied with our mid-year performance, yet we cannot let our guards down if we are to maintain our momentum against expected headwinds. We remain committed to working with the Malta Tourism Authority on securing more connections for our islands, particularly since the recovery of our connectivity continues to lag behind that of passenger volumes.”
Malta Tourism Authority CEO, Carlo Micallef, praised the mid-year traffic performance and its positive impact on tourism numbers. He acknowledged that while capacity from Malta’s source markets is yet to fully recover, extensive marketing efforts and destination appeal are driving higher aircraft utilisation, therefor growing tourism numbers.
The press conference also highlighted Malta International Airport’s capital expenditure of approximately €8 million for the first six months of 2023.
This investment supports several ongoing projects around the terminal and airfield, including the expansion of Apron X, extensive rehabilitation of Runway 23-05, and the westward expansion of the terminal.
The Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne has announced that all restrictions on weddings and events will be lifted from 2nd May. That means that person limits, vaccine requirements and mask-wearing will no longer be mandatory at weddings and events. Malta will also remove obligations for a passenger locator form for anyone arriving into the country from 2nd May.
Fearne made the announcement along with several changes to mask-wearing rules, quarantine, and the opening of English Language Schools. He said he expected all measures to be lifted soon, but did not give a date.
The PLF has been controversial, given the backlog and queues it creates at the Malta International Airport. PLFs will be needed for the red and dark red zones only.
The only people who will need to remain in isolation and quarantine are positive cases. The quarantine period will be seven days. This will apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated. Primary contacts will no longer need to quarantine. People who live in the same household as a positive case will not be obliged to quarantine, but it is recommended if they are showing symptoms.
When it comes to masks, they will no longer be obligatory except in hospitals, clinics, elderly homes and flights. However, it is recommended that masks be used on public transport and in closed spaces.
Read full article here: https://lovinmalta.com/news/watch-weddings-and-events-completely-back-to-normal-from-2nd-may-chris-fearne-announces/Relaxing of COVID-19 rules in Malta
From Monday 11th April, the Covid-19 requirements upon entering Malta, are as follows:
A negative PCR test or rapid test valid to enter into Malta – According to the notice both the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test will be accepted, although the latter can be done earlier. For RATs, the test has to be performed “not more than 24 hours prior to arrival in Malta”. Those opting for the PCR test, which in some countries is pricier and the result takes longer to come out, can do the test up to 72 hours before arriving in Malta. Guidelines published by the public health authorities explaining the legal notice state that the RAT tests must be ones that are included on a special list by the European Council. The result must also be in English, the authorities note. If unavailable in English, an English translation certified by the laboratory or a medical doctor is to be presented. RAT tests are not accepted unless on the EU digital COVID certificate format. Results from self-testing are not accepted. The passenger locator form, used for contact tracing purposes, will still be needed.
A recovery certificate permits entry to Malta – According to the legal notice, a certificate of recovery is accepted for 180 days after a person first tested positive for COVID-19.
Quarantine free – Individuals travelling from Red Countries who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 180 days, or those who can present a negative PCR test (no older than 72 hours), will be allowed to enter the country quarantine-free.31 productions were filmed in Malta during the pandemic
The film industry in Malta generated €98 million between March 2020 and December 2021, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malta Film Commission said on Tuesday.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 31 productions were filmed in Malta.
Film commissioner Johann Grech, speaking at the Malta Film Studios in Kalkara, said recent productions in Malta included feature films, television series, documentaries and reality shows.
Last year, a total of 22 productions took place on the island and generated €68 million for the economy.
He said that a cash rebate scheme managed by the commission had enabled foreign productions to benefit from a rebate of up to 40% of expenditure.
Read the full article here: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/98-million-generated-by-the-local-film-industry-despite-the-pandemic.927106
Malta, the island welcoming digital nomads
Boasting one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, Malta is now welcoming back visitors safely with cash incentives and a recently launched Nomad Residence Permit.
Malta may be small but its response to the pandemic has been mighty. Once enforcing some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, the country has finally been able to open its borders and welcome back visitors safely, boasting one of the world’s highest vaccination rates.
Nearly 81% of all Malta residents are fully vaccinated. In fact, Malta and Portugal are the only two nations in Europe that have reached a more than 80% vaccination rate across their total population (including teenagers age 12 to 17, who have been eligible to get the vaccine since summer 2021), according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). This makes them two of the only places likely to avoid a winter resurgence says the ECDC director, and among the safest places to travel. Visitors to Malta must be vaccinated themselves if they want to skip a 14-day quarantine.
The country is more than ready to welcome back vaccinated international visitors – especially those looking to take advantage of their company’s new remote work policies. In June 2021, Malta launched their Nomad Residence Permit, which enables visitors to keep their current employment in another country and live in Malta for up to a year (with the opportunity for renewal). Applicants must prove they can work remotely, work for an employer or offer freelance or consulting services and earn at least the equivalent of €2,700 monthly.
The Nomad Residence Permit enables holders to retain their current employment based in another country whilst legally residing in Malta. The Permit is open to individuals who can work remotely and independent of location, using telecommunications technologies.
Malta already hosts and welcomes digital nomads from the EU. This community of entrepreneurial expats make the most of Malta’s island vibes, a nomad lifestyle, business networking opportunities and cultural experiences. The Nomad Residence Permit is open to individuals from third countries, who would normally (but not necessarily) require a Visa to travel to Malta.
The permit will be issued for one year and can be renewed upon application at the discretion of Residency Malta, as long as the applicant still meets the set eligibility criteria. Applicants who are interested in staying for less than a year will be issued with a National Visa for the duration of their stay.
Read more: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20211109-malta-the-island-welcoming-digital-nomadsThe STAR Journey in partnership with Forbes Travel Guide
During the past months, as tourism travel restrictions started to be lifted, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Malta Tourism Authority recognized the need to embark on a coordinated effort to ensure that the Maltese hospitality sector is viewed as adequately safe and prepared to welcome and service the most discerning tourists. Towards this end, a team of experts facilitated by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation developed the STAR Journey initiative, a comprehensive quality programme which aims to set Malta as an In-Partnership Forbes Travel Guide Destination with a focus on Service Excellence and Safety – a first in the world.
Read the full article: https://winning.training/star-journeySanta’s City to return to Valletta
Fairyland – Santa’s City will return to Valletta from the 3rd December to 2nd January 2022!
Fairyland promises to be exactly what anyone would expect, following its first edition in 2019, as the entrance to Malta’s Capital City will be transformed into an original adaptation of Santa’s City, all set up to give the ultimate experience to children, and those who are still children at heart!
Among the attractions expected to return, Rudolph’s Wheel will once again provide the best bird’s eye view of Valletta and neighbouring cities and the Ice Rink will be providing quite a festive adrenaline rush!. Naturally, the man himself, Santa Claus will be in residence at Fairyland, ready to meet children from all over the world, compile his Naughty and Nice list and even get a head-start on delivering gifts.
Christmas Food and Drink will be available from Santa’s numerous cabins, and there will also be a couple of surprises!
“The return of Fairyland – Santa’s City is another step forward in our path towards the normality, we strongly missed due to the pandemic. Through this event, we will be providing families with the opportunity to enjoy the Christmas spirit with their loved ones through a number of attractions aimed at nurturing the positive atmosphere that the festive season is well renowned for in the Maltese Islands. The Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection together with the Malta Tourism Authority will continue working hard to assure that our country remains an entertainment bastion in the Mediterranean,” remarked Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo.
Read the full article: https://www.mta.com.mt/en/news-details/337Malta headlines as one of the COVID safest winter countries
Malta has once again made international headlines, and this time, its due to it being one of the safest places in Europe to visit during the winter as another COVID-19 wave surges. According to international newsroom ‘The Telegraph’, our island joins Portugal in being the safest places in Europe for the upcoming winter, with expert leading disease monitoring across the continent. A new wave of infections is sweeping Western Europe and the UK, but Malta and Portugal will be avoiding the spike due to the high rate of vaccination.
Dr. Bruno Ciancio, director of surveillance at the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC), said in a Telegraph interview that there are three epidemiological trends emerging across Europe, dictating how countries will fare this winter.
He highlighted how the critical factor in all this is vaccination, saying that the pandemic will be driven more and more by those who did not receive their jab. He said the countries most likely to avoid a substantial resurgence are Malta and Portugal as they have fully immunized more than 80% of their total population. Most other countries, like the UK, fall into a second tier where overall vaccination rates are around 60 to 80%.
Article credits: https://maltadaily.mt/malta-headlines-as-one-of-the-covid-safest-winter-countries/
MICE are back in Malta
Over the past 5 weeks, we at Colours of Malta, have hosted 6 groups with a total of 500 people coming from Italy, France, Germany and the UK. Each of our groups stayed at 4 and 5 star hotels and had some great incentive programmes planned out whilst enjoying the warm weather.
It’s been so exciting to see that the Beauty, Finance and Hospitality industries, to mention a few, are back on track, fully energised and investing in their business and employees again.
Learn more about our events on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/coloursofmalta