Ryanair Holdings has purchased Malta Air on June 11, 2019. The carrier will initially have six aircraft and operate the 61 routes which Ryanair flies from Malta. The company also plans to increase Malta based fleet to 10 aircraft within three years and brand its Malta based fleet in Malta Air colours for Summer 2020, Ryanair outlines in a statement on June 11, 2019.

“Ryanair appreciates the expertise of the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) in licencing Malta Air to operate the B737 aircraft and we look forward to working closely with the Maltese authorities over the coming years as we hope to add over 50 more aircraft to the Maltese register,” Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary said. The company plans to also move its aircraft from France, Italy and Germany onto the Malta AOC which will allow these crews to pay their income taxes locally in France, Italy and Germany instead of Ireland.

“The setting up of Malta Air will go a long way for the better sustainability of the tourism industry as well as maintaining its growth momentum,” Malta‘s Minister of Tourism Konrad Mizzi commented on his personal Facebook account on June 10, 2019.  

“Ryanair had initially expressed an interest in Air Malta but the government shut down the idea, proposing instead that the Irish company open a subsidiary operating on a Maltese Air Operator’s Certificate,” MaltaToday reported quoting sources familiar with the matter.

Ryanair Group, besides the Irish low cost giant, currently has three smaller subsidiaries (Ryanair Sun, Ryanair UK and Laudamotion). Ryanair Sun (to be rebranded as Buzz), a Poland-based airline, began operations in 2018. Austrian airline Laudamotion was acquired in late 2018, while Ryanair UK was granted an AOC in early 2019.