Air Malta has for a long time struggled to find its own identity in an increasingly competitive market, suffering years of unprofitability and struggling to overcome multiple challenges, including increasing competition from LCCs, outdated work practices and tensions in the North Africa market, which have impacted its traditionally strongest routes.
Over the past 18 months the airline has rebuilt its operations with a more financially viable business model and hybrid product that now allows it to compete with LCCs. It has in fact entered a partnership with Ryanair whereby the LCC is selling Air Malta flights via its own website.
Air Malta has been able to maintain passenger traffic despite cutting two aircraft from its fleet as utilisation and efficiency improved (average aircraft ultilisation grew from seven hours daily to sometimes more than 13 hours during the summer 2018 season).
It is now planning further expansion in 2019, leveraging its new low cost base and the emergence of Malta as one of Europe’s fastest growing holiday destinations. It took delivery of a first A320neo from Avolon in Jun-2018 and expects two further A320neos to arrive in 1H2019 as it rolls over from a ceo to neo fleet.
A new twice weekly Malta – Cairo service will be introduced from Mar-2019 and a potential codeshare with Turkish Airlines to provide links into Asia is being discussed. There are even considerations to Air Malta reintroducing medium- and long-haul flying using Airbus A321neoLR equipment.
Dr Charles Mangion, chairman of the airline, highlighted during a CAPA TV interview last year, how Air Malta has rebuilt its operations with a more financially viable business model and hybrid product that now allows it to compete with LCCs.
He explained the transformation has included a cost control mindset, a reduction in the fleet, increased aircraft utilisation, improved staff productivity and the move to a hybrid business model to serve today’s increasingly price-driven industry. “If you don’t change, you die,” he said.
LEARN MORE insights into Air Malta’s strategy in our exclusive CAPA TV interview with its chairman, Dr Charles Mangion, filmed on the sidelines of the CAPA World Aviation Outlook Summit in Berlin in late Nov-2018.