Travel to and from Malta has not taken off – MIA CEO

As a result of the pandemic, travel and flow of passengers from Malta International Airport in the last six months, has decreased drastically.

This was confirmed by the Chief Executive of Malta International Airport, Alan Borg, in a news conference during which he gave an account of the situation between January to June of this year. Mr. Borg said that the restrictions where only those who are vaccinated are allowed to enter our country had aroused skepticism from those who were considering visiting our country.

With restrictions and measures taken in relation to the Covid pandemic, one of the sectors most affected was the aviation sector. The time during which the airport was closed led to a drastic reduction in the number of passengers visiting Malta in recent months.

Mr Borg said that while it was obvious that the pandemic had reduced travel, travel had not yet picked up to and from Malta. The MIA Chief Executive said that bookings were still on the low side and attributed this to a number of factors.

“The current restrictions will affect your decision on whether or not to book at a given destination. Obviously the current structure, where all passengers coming to Malta must be vaccinated, creates an opportunity for other Mediterranean destinations with the same sort of profile, to be in a much more competitive position than we are. ”

Mr Borg said that travel for the month of July and August seems to have been affected by the latest Health Authority measure whereby everyone visiting Malta must be vaccinated.

“During the first few months of this year, our performance from January to April was basically, on average, 35,000, 40,000 passengers a month, when that would normally have been our weekly performance… the impact was huge. ”

The Chief Executive said that between January and June of this year, when compared to 2019 when there was no pandemic here, air traffic had decreased by almost ninety percent – ie three million two hundred thousand passengers who passed through the airport had now decreased to 400,000 passengers. Aircraft movement also declined sharply, down nearly 80% from 24,000 flights, to five thousand flights. He noted however, the positive trend of the airport last June, when compared to June 2020 t where airport traffic increased by 153%.

He explained that unlike previous years, due to a lockdown in the United Kingdom, the British market did not make it to the list of the five most sought after markets in Malta this year. He said that instead Italy, Germany, France, Poland, and France were among the tourists who mostly visited Malta this year.

Meanwhile, Mr Borg said that although the present is difficult, they were looking ahead with a number of projects expected to change the face of MIA and its surroundings.