KM Malta Airlines to replace Air Malta from Easter Sunday

Air Malta will cease flying on Saturday night and be replaced as Malta’s flag carrier by KM Malta Airlines from Sunday morning (March 31) for the start of the summer flying schedule.

KM Malta Airlines will operate to 17 European destinations, including from Heathrow and Gatwick to Malta, using a fleet of eight Airbus A320neos until now operated by Air Malta.

Malta’s government announced plans to dissolve Air Malta and replace it with a new carrier in August 2022 rather than breach EU state aid rules by continuing to subsidise the loss-making carrier.

The decision on winding up the airline was subsequently delayed but substantial cuts in its network and a reduction in flight frequencies were announced in October 2022.

A move to inject €290 million in state aid was rejected by European Commission in April 2023 and in October the government confirmed plans to wind up Air Malta from March 30 this year, with a newly financed carrier under a new name to take over the following day operating a network half the size of Air Malta’s before the pandemic.

Seats on KM Malta Airlines went on sale from the start of December and passengers with bookings on Air Malta beyond March 30 have been offered refunds.

The government has said it will seek to part privatise the airline once it becomes profitable but it aims to retain a majority shareholding.

In the meantime, the carrier’s fleet will continue to carry the Air Malta brand and livery.

Visit Malta reported “robust demand” for the new carrier’s “value business class fares and flexible economy fares” in the UK since the launch of sales and “strong demand” from tour operators and for group sales.

Tolene van der Merwe, Visit Malta UK and Ireland director, welcomed the launch carrier, saying: “We’re excited to see a new player redefine travel experiences and set new standards of excellence in the industry, continuing airlift from the UK to the Maltese Islands.”

However, the relaunched carrier will face intense competition from Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air. Ryanair is joint owner with the Maltese government of subsidiary Malta Air. and Wizz operates to and from the Maltese Islands as Wizz Air Malta.

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