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Air Malta, which began operations in 1974, is the national carrier of Malta and is majority owned by the Maltese Government. Based at Malta International Airport, the carrier operates to various destinations in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Location of Air Malta main hub (Malta International Airport)
392 total articles
8 total articles
Air Malta Group has not made a net profit since FY2008 and then only thanks to discontinued operations. Its EU-approved Restructuring Plan targets breakeven this financial year and a positive result next year. The approximate halving of losses in 1QFY2014 demonstrates continued progress towards its goals.
Nevertheless, LCC penetration of Malta continues to grow and Air Malta has more work to do to lower its unit costs and to promote the appeal of its product and service versus LCCs. A sustainable level of profitability remains a long way off and it is highly unlikely that the EU would approve any further state aid if the carrier were to slip from its upward trajectory.
As CEO Peter Davies said: “Let me make myself absolutely clear. …we have a tough challenge to achieve the financial breakeven milestone. This requires the understanding and support of all our stakeholders including the employees, unions and suppliers amongst others”.
After disputes with pilots and travel agents in recent months, this message bears repeating.
With its latest business plan, airBaltic has joined a number of other European carriers seeking to turn around its operations. As with Air France, Austrian Airlines and Air Malta, airBaltic is attempting to return to profitability in the face of rising competition and fuel prices. The carrier’s restructuring plan is aimed at strengthening its operations with a modernised and simplified fleet, while reducing expenses and its workforce.
airBaltic’s plan, titled “ReShape”, was unveiled earlier this month but had been expected following developments in late 2011 - when the Latvian Government stepped in to acquire Baltic Aviation Services’ (BAS) 47.2% stake in the carrier. This brought the Government’s total ownership of airBaltic to 99.8%.
Air Malta’s troubles have become more acute as the struggling carrier’s unions increase their opposition to large-scale redundancies. Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has stated the present situation is increasingly worrying, particularly in light of the EUR77 million the government has poured into the airline since Jun-2011.
European airlines reported single-digit growth last year - a welcome improvement from 2009's depressed level - but 2010 was a lacklustre year overall. Full year data has been released by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) and EUROCONTROL. As noted by EUROCONTROL, growth across the continent last year was driven mainly by LCCs.
European carriers are becoming increasingly concerned by the Middle East airline threat on their core international businesses. CEOs from British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa have all voiced their opinions lately, as Middle East airlines continue to expand their global networks. But the European flag carriers are not standing idly by. Several are rapidly expanding their presence in the Middle East, to maintain and/or grow their share of this promising market. Emirates is the clear market leader, with a 21.0% share of capacity on Middle East-Europe routes. Qatar Airways is the second largest, with 8.7%, while Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France have just 5.6%, 3.5% and 2.7% shares, respectively.
The Republic of Malta is one of Europe’s smallest but most densely populated countries. Strategically situated between Italy and Libya/Tunisia the country is well connected to Europe and North Africa with all flights using Malta International Airport (MIA), previously Luqa Airport, in the west of the island 20 minutes from the capital and chief commercial centre Valetta.
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