Ryanair to open Malta base in May-2010
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Air Malta Part 2: cannot match LCC unit costs; Alitalia not about to invest.
Part 1 of this report on Air Malta analysed its network, capacity development, codeshare partnerships and the competitive landscape in its markets. This second part looks at its financial track record and the development of its shrinking fleet and its financial track record. It also presents an estimate of Air Malta's unit cost position and the outlook in the aftermath of the Alitalia talks.
Air Malta's majority owner, the Maltese government, initiated a search for private investors in the loss making national airline in 2015. In Apr-2016 Alitalia signed an MoU with the government over the possible acquisition of up to 49% of Air Malta, but the two airlines announced on 13-Jan-2017 that talks had ended. It seems that the financial and political risks have prevented the investment from proceeding, particularly as Alitalia is wrestling with its own restructuring.
Its unit cost is efficient compared with European legacy airlines, but remains higher than the level of the LCCs with which it competes. Its short haul, non premium, point-to-point product has little with which to differentiate itself.
Air Malta has struggled to compete profitably and has reported several years of losses. A new plan is needed, and this may include a search for an alternative investor.
Aer Lingus part 2: vies with Icelandair, airberlin, Norwegian as leading Nth Atlantic value carrier
Aer Lingus' mission statement includes an aim to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic. Although this is not explicitly defined, it can validly claim to be among the top four in this category. Also vying with Aer Lingus for this title are Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
Part 1 of this report on Aer Lingus looked at the development of its capacity and its financial performance, both before and after the acquisition by IAG in Aug-2015. This second part compares its North Atlantic network and its unit cost positioning with those of Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
All four are currently pursuing rapid growth between Europe and North America and have similar weekly seat capacity scheduled in this market for summer 2017. Their trans Atlantic networks differ by their numbers of North American destinations, European hubs serving that region and European destinations connected to those hubs.
Aer Lingus is well placed among the four, but cannot currently claim to be the leading North Atlantic value carrier. Norwegian, with multiple European long haul bases, is developing quite differently from the other three. Moreover, although Aer Lingus is cost efficient, Norwegian has a significant CASK advantage.