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
The new Malta Marriot outdoor pool
Introducing the newly opened Malta Marriot Hotel & Spa outdoor pool. This amenity adds a touch of luxury to any guest staying at the Malta Marriott.
Local overnight packages are also available here.
Meet Davide at IMEX America

Meet Davide – Colours of Malta at Malta Booth Number: E1616 at imex America, Last Vegas, Mandalay Bay between October 17-19, 2023.

Colours of Malta has been operating as a Destination Management Company (DMC) across the Maltese islands since 1998.

Our core specialization lies in the management of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions). Over the years, we take pride in having established robust relationships with suppliers and independent operators.

We handle events of every scale, ensuring that each receives our specialized care and attention to detail. Our multilingual and versatile team works meticulously, aiming to fulfill the needs of our clients and turning their visions into unforgettable experiences.

Continuous learning is a cornerstone of our ethos. Our staff consistently participates in seminars and workshops, focusing on training, managerial roles, and sustainability. This ensures we continually expand our market knowledge. At Colours of Malta, ethical practices and corporate conduct are paramount. We have set policies and controls in place to adhere to both local and global anti-corruption laws and regulations.

We hold the distinction of being a Quality Assured DMC, certified by the Malta Tourism Authority. Colours of Malta was also appointed as the Official Partner DMC by the European Union to organize all the events for the EU presidency in 2017 in Malta and has handled groups of 20 delegates up to 3500 delegates.

We possess a general liability insurance coverage and partner exclusively with suppliers who have adequate insurance to ensure maximum safety.

Living up to our company motto, we believe, “The difference between the ordinary and extraordinary is the little ‘extra’.” – Colours of Malta.

Read more: https://imexamerica.com/newfront/exhibitor/colours-of-malta-7fc7dc8e
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
Discovery of Neptune painting in National Museum of Archaeology

A painting discovered behind a blocked arch at the Gran Salon within the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta has been confirmed as an image of Neptune, the Roman God of the Sea, following a conservation project held by Heritage Malta with Bank of Valletta’s (BOV) support.

The painting, which sees the god hold a trident in his hand, was first discovered in 2021 during the project. It stands above what used to be a recessed arch with a fireplace that was blocked and redecorated.

As they were removing the pointing of the blocked-off access, conservators witnessed decorative elements completely different from the current decorative scheme of the Gran Salon, and a small opening was thus made, revealing details of a trident.

Following discussions of the findings with several professionals, the conservation team and Heritage Malta experts, with the approval of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, continued to meticulously remove stones blocking the archway to reveal a painting of Neptune that could possibly date to the late 17th or early 18th century.

Neptune is seated in the centre of a large seashell, resting his left hand on a jar with flowing war, while holding the trident in his right hand. He is depicted in a green colour, with the experts claiming it might have been done so he imitates bronze statues. As part of the decorative scheme there are also some architectural features among other shells and fish. They claim that to date, this is the only surviving element of the original decorative scheme of the Gran Salon, a majestic hall in the Auberge de Provence – now housing the National Museum of Archaeology – which was most probably fully decorated during the Knight’s period, yet was redecorated during the British Period.

The restoration of the hall commenced in 2017 through a partnership between BOV and Heritage Malta, with the bank’s participation in the project forming part of its commitment to “support and assist the community in which it operates”, going beyond the provision of financial services but as an “active citizen of this community”.

BOV CEO Kenneth Farrugia and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ernest Agius recently visited the Gran Salon to witness the discovery, and they were greeted by Heritage Malta COO Kenneth Gambin and the conservation team, who provided an update on the conservation process.

“As a bank celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, and with over 200 years of history in Malta, the local heritage is very close to our hearts and forms an integral part of BOV’s Community Programme,” Mr Farrugia said.

“We are indeed very excited to form part of this exciting discovery together with Heritage Malta and we are keen to follow any new information that this discovery will shed on the history of this magnificent hall,” he added.

Mr Gambin expressed his delight at the discovery of this early decorative scheme, which “further enhances” the Gran Salon’s value and beauty. He lauded the efforts of Heritage Malta’s conservators who had a crucial role in the project, and also thanked BOV for its “unwavering support”.

He remarked that Heritage Malta is eager to make this discovery accessible to the public, in line with its commitment to “bring Malta’s cultural heritage within the reach of the widest audience possible”.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/bov-and-heritage-malta-partnership-sees-exciting-discovery-of-neptune-painting-in-national-museum-of-archaeology
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
Is-Suq tal-Belt: A historic covered market at Valletta’s core

Valletta is routinely referred to as a highlight by tourists and foreign expats getting to know the island. The sheer number of architectural gems, rich history and way of life in the capital city is appreciated by locals and foreigners alike.

While there are worries that Valletta is losing some of the rich cultural value it once possessed due to the closure of generations old stores and establishments, certain structures are a sign that refurbishment and renovation that respect the urban context can go a long way towards preserving Malta’s heritage, one being Is-Suq tal-Belt.

Situated right at the heart of the capital, the market, also referred to as the Covered Market, is a market hall that was first constructed in 1861 and is mostly constructed out of iron. Built in a Victorian style, the limestone exterior gives it a fine finish that fits perfectly with the rest of Valletta’s architecture.

Despite Is-Suq tal-Belt’s architectural beauty nowadays, the market and its building site have had quite a turbulent history, having previously been home to a square known as Piazza del Malcantone, which used to be part of a gallows parade of a guilty person, where they would be humiliated and tortured around Valletta, before being hanged in Floriana. Crops and goods were also sold in the square.

Afterwards, a marketplace in the Baroque style was constructed at some point during the rule of the Order of St John, yet this was demolished when the British took over Malta. Following that, plans for a covered market began in 1845, and the building was then constructed between 1859 and 1861, initially designed by Hector Zimelli, and completed by Emanuele Luigi Galizia.

The market then fell victim to bombs during World War Two in 1942, leaving a third of the building destroyed. While it regularly underwent repairs, including the construction of new floors, prompting it to thrive for a few more years, the building still fell into a state of decline.

However, after Valletta’s nomination for European Capital of Culture 2018, Government set out to regenerate a significant part of the capital city, including the market. Arkadia Co. Ltd was granted a 65-year lease of the building in 2016, and after around €14 million in investment, Is-Suq tal-Belt experienced heavy restoration, led by Italian architect Marco Casamonti.

Original elements of the building were preserved and restored, with sections of the building being converted into food markets, restaurants and stalls, leaving the upper level for cultural activities and events. Other parts which were added over the years were dismantled.

The market hall officially reopened to the public on 3rd January 2018, right on cue for Valletta 2018.

The building has a rectangular plan, featuring walls and arches made from limestone. On the other hand, the roof is comprised of cast and wrought iron decked in timber, supported with various iron columns. The basement and ground level of the market were inspired by the Mercado di San Miguel in Madrid, as well as the Boqueria market in Barcelona.

Its restoration has been applauded, however heavy criticism has been leveled against commercial tenants for putting up large signage blocking the building’s beautiful facade, while just last month the Planning Authority rejected plans for outdoor canopies.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/is-suq-tal-belt-a-historic-covered-market-at-valletta-s-core
World’s first deepwater archaeological park inaugurated off Xlendi

At a depth of more than 110 metres, the world’s first deepwater archaeological park has been inaugurated off Xlendi in Gozo.

The park, designated as an Archaeological Zone at Sea in 2020, covers a total of 67,000 square metres.

Speaking during the park’s inauguration ceremony on the Xlendi waterfront, National Heritage Minister Owen Bonnici remarked that through the park, researchers and technical divers from all over the world can explore the history of Malta.

This archaeological park at the bottom of the sea has also been mapped out on the website www.underwatermalta.org following extensive work by Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, headed by Professor Timmy Gambin.

The artefacts were documented and are now offered through a virtual museum so that more people can appreciate the unique sites of our seas, said Bonnici.

Gambin said the launch of this unique park elevates the submerged deposits off Xlendi and enhances Gozo’s cultural heritage as well as its tourism product.

Through future collaborative efforts and thanks to the generous support of the Malta Airport Foundation, Gozo will continue to develop as a centre of excellence in the fields of underwater archaeology and heritage management, he said.

The park’s depth ranges between 105 and 115 metres, where the seabed consists of fine silt and sand punctuated by a series of rocky outcrops formed by extinct coral reefs.

Around these outcrops, there are concentrations of archaeological objects, mostly amphorae. It is highly likely that more archaeological remains are buried in the sediment, based on the continuous deposition of sediment from Xlendi Valley and the presence of partially buried objects.

Although the depths at which this park is found make it accessible only to a niche of technical divers, the virtual museum brings the discoveries closer to specialised audiences and the general public.

The park, sponsored by the Malta Airport Foundation, is the result of a collaborative effort between Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the University of Malta, and the Munxar Local Council.

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri said the park was an additional incentive for travellers to opt for Gozo as their destination of choice, offering them a distinct and unparalleled stay unlike any other.

Article credits: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/world-first-deepwater-archaeological-park-inaugurated-off-xlendi.1048456
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/
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