Ryanair has officially set up Malta Air, an airline based in Malta which, according to Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary, will provide an investment of £883 million and hopes that within three years the number of passengers flying from and to Malta will increase from three to some five million a year, with increases in the 62 routes that Ryanair is operating this year.
During the signing of the agreement with the Government at Castille, Mr O’Leary said that Malta Air will transfer the existing 200 pilots, engineers and crew members in Malta, while targeting that the workers in Malta will increase to 350 by 2022. At the same time, he said that the six passenger planes based at MIA will be registered in Malta and are expected to be increased to 10 in three years’ time.
Ryanair’s chief executive stated that over 40 airplanes based in France, Italy and Germany will also be registered in Malta, adding that the company’s planes will have white and red colours of Malta Air in winter so that they will be ready for the summer 2020 schedule.
While thanking the Government, Michael O’Leary said that negotiations with the Maltese authorities were most difficult during the past 13 years however he is satisfied that the relationship between Malta and Ryanair is now evolving with Malta Air, with which Ryanair will strengthen its presence in Malta.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that this is very good news for trade and tourism in Malta, which will not affect Air Malta because the national airline operates with a different strategy and model. Dr Muscat said that tourism in Malta last year increased by 14%, which will contribute to more growth and sustainability.
Tourism Minister, Konrad Mizzi, said that the agreement ensures the future of tourism in Malta and places the country as an aviation and travel centre in the Mediterranean. Dr Mizzi said that the agreement will further link Malta with more countries, adding that in the agreement the Government negotiated a golden share with which Ryanair cannot just decide to free itself from the investment.