COM team catching up with new exciting Hotels

Our team are thrilled to have toured the impressive Barceló Fortina this week! With its stunning Valletta views and versatile spaces, it’s the perfect blend of style and functionality for our upcoming collaborations. Exciting times ahead!

Malta Makes It On Bloomberg’s List of Top Travel Destinations in 2024

Once again, the charm and allure of Malta have captured the attention of the global stage, earning our Mediterranean gem a spot on Bloomberg’s list of must-visit destinations for 2024.

In an article titled “Where to Go in 2024,” Bloomberg dedicated a special section to Malta, highlighting its unique offerings as an ideal travel destination.

Among a diverse array of locations globally, including cities and states of much larger scale, Malta stood out alongside Busan in South Korea, Boston, Las Vegas, Montecito, and Aspen in the United States, Argentina, Hong Kong, Halifax in Canada, Bergen in Norway, Quito in Ecuador, Transylvania in Romania, San Sebastian in Spain, Belfast in the UK, Lima in Peru, Morocco, and the enchanting island of Palau.

Bloomberg anticipates 2024 as a record-setting year for travel, with a positive outlook on overcoming pandemic fears, economic challenges, and geopolitical conflicts. The International Air Transport Association projects that 4.7 billion people will take to the skies this year, generating a staggering $964 billion from air travel alone.

For those planning their travels, Bloomberg recommends choosing Malta for a vacation in 2024. The article highlights the opportunity to explore filming locations of blockbuster movies like Gladiator and Troy, as well as the iconic settings of the Game of Thrones series. Beyond cinematic landscapes, visitors can immerse themselves in Malta’s rich historical tapestry and bask in the beauty of the surrounding seas.

On the cultural front, Bloomberg acknowledges Malta’s International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS) as Europe’s most significant museum. With a government investment of thirteen million euros, MICAS provides a platform for both local and international contemporary art exhibitions. Notably, the museum offers breathtaking views of the Port of Marsamxett.

The article also encourages travelers to mark their calendars for March to May, as Malta hosts the Maltabiennali.art, themed “White Sea and Olive Groves.” Additionally, October presents an enticing opportunity to experience Notte Bianca, when museums and historical sites open their doors to the public free of charge.

Article credits: https://maltadaily.mt/malta-makes-it-on-bloombergs-list-of-top-travel-destinations-in-2024/
New airline replacing Air Malta to fly on March 31, 2024

The “new” airline which will replace Air Malta has officially been announced… and it’s bringing with it a number of changes.

The new airline will operate 17 routes instead of 37 and use eight planes instead of 10, but this time round, it’s all about the company actually registering a profit.

Three of the airline’s Airbus 320NEOs aircrafts will be brand new, bought directly from Airbus and owned by the new company.

Total employees within the company, meanwhile, went from just under 1,400 in 2010 to less than 400 this year.

As part of the revamped structure within the new airline, a series of cost cutting (also down to a smaller workforce) will see the airline’s wage costs go from a spend of €48 million to less than half of that, €22 million.

With Brussels turning down the Maltese government’s request for a €290-million State aid injection into the struggling Air Malta, the islands instead opted for a model which was used by neighbouring Italy, who recently replaced Alitalia with ITA. In fact, the European Commission gave Malta three years to run this… after which time a business partner needs to be allowed in so that it’s not state-funded.

Everything from aircraft maintenance to direct flying costs will be reduced, with a substantial change in the airline’s business model aimed at registering that long-sought-after profit margin.

Designing “the most commercially efficient network”, the new airline has also increased frequencies to existing routes like Rome, Munich, Paris (CDG), Zurich and Vienna… but other routes are now not on the roster.

Palermo, Naples, Nice, Geneva, Lisbon and Tel Aviv are the six routes which have been cancelled.

The remaining routes are now Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Catania, Dusseldorf, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris CDG, Paris Orly, Prague, Rome, Vienna and Zurich.

With a workforce of 375 employees, the airline’s new €350 million investment (and €90 million for staff and pilots) also includes the acquisition of the London Heathrow and Gatwick slots from Med-Air.

By the third year of operations (2026/7), Copenhagen will also be added as a route.

Air Malta’s final flight will be on 30th March 2024, with the new airline’s first flights leaving the following day.

As of November 2023, Air Malta customers can apply for refund of tickets post 30th March 2024, with a recruitment process of the new airline kicking off in December.

On 1st December 2023, the new airline will start receiving bookings.

As for Air Malta’s current pilots, these will have four years to decide if they want to leave and not be a part of the new airline… but if they do, they won’t be able to ever join again.

As part of a clause in their contracts, the pilots will be given these four years to decide if they want a sum payment as part of their departure. If they do choose this, they won’t be able to work as pilots with the new airline, or Med-Air, ever again. A six-year “ban” from working within the public sector will also apply.

Read the full article: https://lovinmalta.com/news/air-maltas-final-flight-will-be-on-30th-march-2024-as-new-downsized-national-airline-announced/

 

Air Malta carried 970,636 passengers between April and August 2023

970,636 passengers travelled with Air Malta between the start of April and the end of last August, Executive Chairman David Curmi confirmed on Thursday.

The figure represents a 26 per cent increase from the performance of the same period last year, with the highest number of passengers being carried last month with 213,963.

“As we move into the sixth month of our summer 2023 programme, we continue to see a strong demand for travel with our airline,” Mr Curmi stated.

He added that during the reporting period, Air Malta operated to 23 destinations and performed a total of 3,238 rotations with a monthly average of 637 and a weekly average of 154 rotations. The total rotations came out at 28 per cent higher than in 2022, with the highest number of rotations being performed for routes including London Heathrow, Rome Fiumicino, and Catania.

Italy remains the top destination when it comes to passenger loads with 249,730 passengers, followed by France, the United Kingdom and Germany. The airline’s most frequented airport remains London Heathrow, followed by Munich and Rome Fiumicino.

Mr Curmi noted that it gives him “great pleasure” that despite the addition of five new routes, Air Malta still achieved an average seat load factor of 88 per cent during the five months reported. The airline recorded a high average seat load of 92 per cent during August.

“14 out of 23 routes achieved a seat load factor of over 90 per cent. The highest seat load factors were achieved on the Lisbon, Amsterdam, and London Heathrow routes at 99 per cent, 96 per cent, and 95 per cent, respectively,” he continued.

“I attribute this successful performance to the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our people across the company,” Mr Curmi concluded.

Despite the positive results, Air Malta’s future remains uncertain, with it awaiting a verdict from the European Commission on whether Government’s request to inject state aid into the airline will be approved. Back in April, Mr Curmi had said that the airline is set to wind down operations by the end of the year, with a new flag-carrier set to take its place.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/air-malta-carried-970-636-passengers-between-april-and-august-2023
Additional Paris CDG rotations

Air Malta is further expanding its Winter 2023-24 scheduled flight operation with the addition of:

2 x extra Paris CDG rotations on Days 1 & 5 respectively

See the above table for the updated schedule for both Paris airports.

This increased capacity should help cater for more inbound GROUP and MICE traffic to Malta, as well as increase connectivity to Francw  and beyond for the local Malta Market.

We are available should you require any further information or assistance with flights.

*

1: Monday 2: Tuesday 3: Wednesday 4: Thursday 5: Friday 6: Saturday 7: Sunday
Malta International Airport reports busiest ever month

Malta’s blockbuster year for tourism is showing no signs of slowing down, with Malta International Airport (MIA) registering its busiest ever month in July 2023, beating the previous monthly record, held by August 2019, by more than 25,000 passenger movement.

The airport welcomed 848,716 passengers in July, a new record that may be overtaken as soon as this month, with the August holiday rush “set to bring busier days”.

Traffic is expected to peak on 17 and 24 August, with each one of these days forecast to see more than 32,000 passengers, the airport said.

In its announcement, MIA said that aircraft movements during the month remained in line with July 2019 levels, while seat capacity saw an increase of 3.8 per cent as a result of larger aircraft being operated on flights to Malta.

Despite the increase in the number of seats available, the monthly seat load factor rose by 2.1 per cent over pre-pandemic levels to reach 89.1 per cent, as demand for travel remained very strong for yet another month.

Being Malta’s most connected market through flights to 20 airports, Italy showed no signs of ceding the top spot to the United Kingdom, which was the second most popular market for the month.

The French market continued to perform exceptionally well, registering growth of 52 per cent over 2019 and outperforming Germany to rank third. Five airlines currently connect Malta International Airport to 10 French airports, contributing to this market’s increasing popularity.

Passenger traffic from Spain grew by a marginal 1.2 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, with this market retaining the same position it has held since May 2023.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/malta-international-airport-reports-busiest-ever-month
Airport targets 7.2 million passengers by end of the year

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.1047289
MIA 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.

Article credits: https://lovinmalta.com/international/malta-international-airport-reports-record-traffic-surpassing-pre-pandemic-levels/
Malta International Airport’s traffic up to 3.4 million in first half of 2023

Malta International Airport plc (MIA) recorded a positive first half of 2023, registering 3.4 million passenger movements during the six months.

This meant that the airport’s traffic volumes during the period exceeded those of the first half of 2019 (3.2 million) by 5.6 per cent. This year’s figure also represents a sharp 48 per cent increase from the one recorded in the opening six months of 2022 (2.3 million).

In June 2023 alone, the airport saw 754,258 passenger movements, representing a substantial increase of 4.5 per cent over passenger traffic handled in the same month in 2019. June also became the third consecutive month during which the 700,000-passenger mark was reached.

The peak was reached on 29th June, as 30,419 departing and arriving passengers took advantage of the four-day bridge weekend due to the Mnarja feast, which also coincided with the end of the academic year for various educational institutions in Malta.

Seat capacity surpassed 2019 volumes by 1.8 per cent, standing at 873,580 seats, while load factor also showed a marked improvement, increasing from 84.1 per cent in June 2019 to 86.3 per cent last month.

MIA top five markets remained largely consistent with the previous year, as Italy retained top spot of the market leaderboard for June with a market share of 24.5 per cent. It was followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/malta-international-airport-s-traffic-up-to-3-4-million-in-first-half-of-2023

 

Air Malta to be replaced by a new national airline

Malta’s national airline, Air Malta will officially be replaced by a new flag-carrier and is expected to continue operating right until the new one takes over by the end of the year.

The fact that the country’s national airline was expected to wind down operations had become an open secret in recent months, especially following reports made that the airline was to undergo dissolution by the end of the year.

It is likely that the new airline will take on the Alitalia – ITA solution, which saw a new, debt-free Italian national airline acquire half of the original airline’s aircraft and a quarter of its staff and had an investment plan approved by the EU Commission.

The airline’s Executive Chairman, Mr David Curmi. explained that the new airline will have its own booking platform, and that the old company will operate right until the new one takes over, allowing a seamless transition. This is unlike what happened with Alitalia – ITA, which refunded flights booked for customers past the date of dissolution.

However, it is not yet clear how many of the routes the new airline will inherit from the original one.

The decision to start a new debt-free airline to replace Air Malta comes after Malta failed to receive permission from the EU Commission to give the ailing airline a capital injection of 290 million. Despite slashing headcount by 50 per cent and removing unprofitable routes, it was unable to convince the EU Commission.

Read the full article: https://whoswho.mt/en/air-malta-to-be-replaced-by-a-new-national-airline-by-the-end-of-the-year-exec-chairman-confirms
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