Ryanair subsidiary airline Malta Air came into being on Tuesday with the signing of a deal between Ryanair and the government at the Auberge de Castille.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary announced during the ceremony that the new airline hopes to carry five million passengers within five years.
Malta Air will initially have a fleet of six Boeing 737 aircraft based in Malta, but this will increase to ten aircraft within the next three years, an investment in the region of $1 billion. The airline will initially employ 200 personnel, but this number is expected to increase to 350 personnel within three years. As part of the agreement, 50 Ryanair aircraft will also be registered in Malta’s jurisdiction and hence take the 9H registration code.
“Today’s agreement will take travel and tourism to the next level”, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said at the launch of the airline. Mizzi noted that although one may think that Malta Air would clash with Air Malta, this would not be the case as the two airlines will complement each other – with Malta Air taking on Ryanair’s current low-cost routes and Air Malta continuing in its emphasis on cargo routes, medium haul routes, and routes to key hubs such as Frankfurt and London’s Heathrow airport.