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.

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Newly-formed Valletta Airlines receives Air Operator Certificate

Valletta Airlines on Thursday announced that it has been issued an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) ahead of its planned launch this year.

The airline, which is owned by Air Valletta Group and is backed by private Cypriot investment, will focus on global charter and ACMI markets, targeting Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Valletta Airlines described this achievement as “one of its biggest milestones so far”, after it was issued number MT-74 on Wednesday.

It proceeded to thank Transport Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate for the “smooth process and exceptional professionalism” throughout the whole procedure.

The airline aims to start operations with one Airbus A320-200, which it has recently registered. The 18-year-old jet was transferred from Lithuanian charter airline Heston Airlines, which has been contracted to provide supporting services to the Maltese company.

It has plans to grow its fleet to three Airbus A320-200 and two A330-200 by the end of the year.

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