Ryanair (FR/RYR) has agreed to purchase Maltese start-up airline Malta Air in order to increase its presence on the Mediterranean island.
The investment into a Maltese AOC (Air Operators Certificate) will see Ryanair move six of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft onto the Maltese register (9H) and allow it to access non-EU markets such as North Africa offering flights to the region via Luqa airport (MLA/LMML).
It has long been known that the Maltese Government wants to to shift Malta’s aviation focus to becoming a transit point from Europe to Africa.
Malta’s Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi, said: “The relationship between Ryanair and Malta has evolved into a successful collaboration. We welcome Ryanair’s commitment to operate and grow a fully fledged Malta-based airline which will contribute in a large way to the country’s development.”
Malta Air joins Ryanair’s growing list of airlines which now includes Buzz (Poland), Laudamotion (Austria) and of course, Ireland based Ryanair.
Speaking at in Malta, Ryanair CEO Michael O#Leary said: “Malta Air will proudly fly the Maltese name and flag to over 60 destinations across Europe and North Africa as we look to grow our Maltese based fleet, routes, traffic and jobs over the next three years.
“Ryanair’s continued partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority will help drive forward the vision of Prime Minister Muscat and Minister Mizzi to grow year-round connections to all corners of Europe which will support increased tourism, business and jobs in Malta.
“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.“