‘Ryanair and Air Malta have coexisted for the last 12 years and will continue to do so’
Malta Air and Air Malta will be able to coexist and collaborate despite the former’s rapid expansion which will see over 50 Malta Air and Ryanair aircraft registered in the country over the next few years, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi told Lovin Malta.
“Ryanair and Air Malta have coexisted for the last 12 years and will continue to do so,” he said.
Mizzi stressed that while Malta Air would continue its parent airline’s dominance in the low-cost field, Air Malta will focus on legacy routes and medium-to-long haul flights to Mumbai and Sub-Sahara.
Asked by the newsroom whether the rapid expansion would threaten the recent success of Air Malta, which only just recorded a profit for the first time in years, Mizzi disagreed:
“I think that Air Malta has clear plans by improving cargo operations and Sub-Saharan routes. Two airlines carrying the Maltese flag is a good thing.”
“This government always sought to expand and not promote austerity.”
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary echoed this sentiment, insisting that the similar brands will actually benefit from one another, with both being sold on Ryanair platforms.
While there are no agreements that the airlines will not infringe on the other’s routes, O’Leary said that Ryanair wants to coexist and are not interested in Air Malta’s slots.
“If we wanted to do it, we would have done it over the last 12 years”
Malta Air will currently have six Malta-based aircraft, worth over $600m, on the Maltese register, while 200 of Ryanair’s Malta crew will move onto local contracts and pay tax within the country
There are further plans to increase the fleet to 10 aircraft within three years and create an additional 350 jobs.
“We look forward to working closely with the Maltese authorities over the coming years as we hope to add over 50 more aircraft to the Maltese register,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said.
The Government of Malta will retain veto rights on a change in the company name and the transfers of licenses and certificates.
The new airline will fly to over 60 destinations across Europe and North Africa.
As it stands, Ryanair will transfer all of its existing routes to Malta Air. However, its CEO told Lovin Malta that as the airline expands it will look at new destinations in the North of Africa, as discussions with both Libya and Tunisia take place.