Air Malta has won the CAPA Turnaround Airline of the Year Award at the 2018 CAPA World Aviation Outlook Summit, held in Berlin.
The award is given to an existing airline that has turned around through innovative strategic changes and/or a restructuring exercise.
Air Malta was selected for its successful transformation, going from making heavy losses to a break-even result for the fiscal year ending March 2018.
Air Malta had been unprofitable for nearly 20 years as it struggled to overcome multiple challenges, including increasing competition from low-cost carriers (LCCs), outdated work practices and tensions in the North Africa market, which impacted its traditionally strongest routes. The flag carrier accumulated operating losses of more than USD300 million over the 10 years ending in March 2017.
The airline has rebuilt its operations with a financially viable business model and a hybrid product that now allows it to compete with LCCs. The transformation included a cost control mindset, increased aircraft utilisation, improved staff productivity and the move to a hybrid business model to serve today’s increasingly price-driven industry. The airline has also increased significantly its routes, fleet and passengers.
Air Malta is planning further expansion in 2019, while renewing its current fleet with modern A320 aircraft and leveraging its new cost-efficient hybrid model, while it supports the continued emergence of Malta as one of Europe’s fastest growing holiday destinations.
“Air Malta is a classic example of the need to remain relevant in the airline sector,” CAPA Executive Chairman Peter Harbison said. “For a long time it had seemingly ignored the competition and accepted its own slow decline. But, with some brave decisions it has been reborn and is now profitably flying the flag for Malta. The higher fuel price and volatile currency rates are dark clouds, but Air Malta is now better positioned to weather these market forces.”