A new airline, owned and operated by Ryanair, was officially launched on Tuesday. Malta Air expects to fly its eight-pointed livery by summer 2020, taking over from the former Ryanair routes.
The airline is reportedly already seeking out new routes to add to the 62 routes in 21 countries it will be taking over from Ryanair.
Malta Air is set to operate six formerly Ryanair aircrafts registered in Malta, with plans to increase the figure to 10 within three years. In addition to this, the company has highlighted plans to register another 50 aircrafts in Malta by relocating them from Italian and German registers.
The new airline hopes to carry five million passengers within five years, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said at a ceremony.
Reports went on to note that Malta Air also plans to establish hangar facilities for repair and maintenance work in Malta. The mammoth low-cost airline Ryanair also stated that 200 Malta-based crew will be transferred to local contracts, resulting in taxes being paid locally.
“By investing in Malta Air and putting these aircraft on the Malta register we commit ourselves to a very substantial investment in Malta,” Mr O’Leary said. Responding to questions from members of the press regarding national plans to turn Malta into a regional hub, Mr O’Leary revealed that Malta Air was already exploring the possibility of establishing further North African connections.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the Government does not believe that Malta Air would have a negative impact on air Malta, reportedly adding that both could live “happily ever after”. Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi declared that the deal would create around 350 jobs, adding that the primary goal is to ensure Malta’s future as a tourist destination is secured.
Dr Muscat and Dr Mizzi said that Air Malta and Malta Air offer different but complementary services. Government is said to hold a golden share in the newly established airline, allowing it to veto crucial decisions on the sale of the airline or the transfer of the name.
No financial details have been reported.