Air Malta ceases operations, replaced by KM Malta Airlines

KM Malta Airlines

Air Malta ceased operations on March 30, 2024, and was replaced by KM Malta Airlines the following day. The new airline took over the operation of the eight Airbus A320s that Air Malta previously leased.

Air Malta has been a significant player in the aviation industry for fifty years, with a network of flights to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. However, the airline faced significant challenges, including an inflated workforce and unsustainable wage bills, ultimately weakening it.

In October 2023, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana revealed that Air Malta had been operating at a loss for twenty years and, at one point, employed 1,400 staff to operate nine aircraft. It became clear that Air Malta could only sustain operations with continued subsidies.

Despite these challenges, the Maltese government was committed to preserving a national airline, believing it to be a strategic asset, considering the country’s insularity and the importance of the tourism industry to Malta.

The new airline, KM Malta Airlines, will operate eight aircraft with fewer than 400 employees. The selected formula resulted from extensive negotiations between the government of Malta and the European Commission about the fate of the country’s national airline.

External consultants have developed a five-year business plan for the reborn Air Malta. The plan envisions a fleet of eight Airbus A320neo aircraft, both leased and owned. The new aircraft will have a two-class cabin with 168 seats, including the capacity to accommodate up to 36 premium-class passengers.

These aircraft will serve 17 routes departing from Luqa International Airport (LAQ), primarily to destinations in mainland Europe. The newly formed carrier is expected to inherit the entire Air Malta workforce and most of its assets and will be 100% government-owned.

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