Air Malta plc is the national airline of Malta, based in Luqa. It operates services to 36 destinations in Europe and North Africa. The airline's hub and base is at Malta International Airport, Malta.
When Malta gained independence an airline called Malta Airlines was set up by the new government, but was later liquidated. After a new Labour
government came to power, with Prime Mnister Dom Mintoff
, it was decided to create a national airline (Air Malta), with the assistance and co-operation of the Pakistani
government. The airline was established on March 21
, when it was created by a resolution of the House of Representatives
, set up as a limited liability company and granted a certificate of rights to operate international services from Malta. At first, this airline was situated in Gudja.
(Although Air Malta did not begin until 1973; BEA noted in its timetables that its services to and from Malta were "operated in connection with Malta Airlines." Flight numbers were still prefixed with BE, and were not code-shares.)
Air Malta began service on April 1, 1974, with two wet leased Boeing 720Bs that served Rome, Tripoli, London, Manchester, Frankfurt and Paris from Malta's airport.
In 1983, 3 new Boeing 737s were delivered. In 1986, Air Malta ordered two new 737s, and in 1987 ordered its first Airbus A320. They then sold the two 720s on their fleet. In 1989, Air Malta exercised an option for one more A320, and in 1992, two more 737s were ordered. That year 4 Avro RJ 70s were ordered, to be put on routes Malta to Catania and Palermo and to new destinations such as Tunis and Monastir.
After the opening of the new Malta International Airport in 1992, Air Malta created CargoSystems, which includes the air transportation of cargo on Air Malta planes. In 1994, Air Malta inaugurated a cargo center at the airport.
Between 2002 and 2007, Air Malta embarked upon a fleet replacement programme, opting to change all aircraft to Airbus A319s and A320s, thus reducing the average age of the fleet to around 2.5 years.
Air Malta has concluded over 191 interline ticketing agreements with other IATA airlines. It also has a codeshare agreement with Qantas from Sydney-Singapore-London-Malta.
According to the Association of European Airlines quarterly review of May 2006 Air Malta is the airline that loses the least amount of passenger baggage. The amount of baggage lost in the first quarter of 2006 was 4.1 bags missing per 1000 passengers.
In September 2007, Air Malta made two agreements with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways by which Air Malta will be wet-leasing two Airbus aircraft to Etihad Airways for the winter period starting September 1st, 2007; and will be providing operational support on another Airbus A320, aircraft to be leased by Etihad Airways.
Air Malta is owned by the Maltese government (98%) and private investors (2%). Air Malta also has a 25% shareholding in Medavia. The airline employs 1,547 staff..
Further information: Air Malta destinations
- In 2008 Air Malta expanded its route network to include Bologna in Italy and Leipzig in Germany, while dropping scheduled service to Madrid and Barcelona (Spain), Casablanca (Morocco), Stockholm and Oslo (in Scandinavia), and Venice (Italy).
- Air Malta also operates seasonal charters from Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol, Newcastle, Newquay Cornwall Airport, and East Midlands in the UK.
Incidents and accidents
Air Malta Flight 830
was hijacked in June 1997, by two Turks. The hijack ended in Cologne with no casualties. Since its inception in 1973, Air Malta has had no fatal accidents.
The Air Malta fleet consists of the following aircraft (as at August 2008)
- 5 Airbus A319-111 9H-AEG (Mdina), 9H-AEH (Floriana), 9H-AEJ (San Pawl il-Baħar), 9H-AEL (Marsaxlokk), 9H-AEM (Birgu - Citta Vittoriosa)
- 7 Airbus A320-200 9H-AEF (Valletta), 9H-AEI Rabat, Citta, Vittoria, (Gozo), 9H-AEK (San Giljan), 9H-AEN (Bormla), 9H-AEO (Isla - Citta Invicta), 9H-AEP (Nadur), 9H-AEQ (Tarxien)
1. Bradshaws Air Guide Aug/Sept 1953
2. Bradshaws Air Guide March 1959