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|Hubs||Malta International Airport|
|Company slogan||The airline of the Maltese Islands.|
|Key people||Joseph Galea (Acting CEO)|
Air Malta plc is the flag carrier airline of Malta, with its headquarters in Luqa and its hub at Malta International Airport. It operates services to destinations in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Shortly after the Second World War, several small private airlines were formed in Malta. Amongst these were The Malta Instone Airline, BAS (Malta) Ltd, and Malta Airlines. In 1947 the former two companies merged to form Air Malta Ltd in fierce competition with the latter. Eventually in 1951 Malta Airlines absorbed the operations of Air Malta Ltd and continued operating through an agreement with BEA until 1973. The owners of Air Malta Ltd used their real estate, staff and equipment to set up a ground handling company called MAS, Malta Aviation Services.
In the early 1970s the Maltese government appointed Albert Mizzi as Chairman of the airline and made a call for an international airline partner to help set up an airline. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) then regarded as Asia's best airline was selected and a new carrier set up. The name chosen for the new airline was similar to that of its forerunner, Air Malta Co Ltd, and was established on 31 March 1973. BEA was chartered to continue its Malta operations, this time for Air Malta, until Air Malta's first flight on 1 April 1974. Both Malta Airlines and Malta Aviation Services were taken over by the government and the private owners were given a shareholding in Air Malta Co. Ltd.
Air Malta started operations, with 2 wet leased Boeing 720Bs that served Rome, Tripoli, London, Manchester, Frankfurt and Paris from Malta. It later bought 3 more Boeing 720Bs and bought the original two.
In 1981, 3 Boeing 737–200 were wet leased, which were so successful that in 1983, 3 new fully owned Boeing 737-200 were delivered. In 1986, Air Malta bought 3 new Boeing 737-200, and in 1987 ordered its first Airbus A320. In 1989, Air Malta exercised an option for one more A320, and in 1992, 3 more Boeing 737–300 were ordered and 4 Avro RJ70 were ordered for routes to Catania and Palermo and to new destinations such as Tunis and Monastir.
After the opening of Malta International Airport in 1992, Air Malta created CargoSystems, which includes the air transportation of cargo on Air Malta planes. In 1994, Air Malta inaugurated a cargo center at the airport. It was also during this time that a codesharing agreement with Trans World Airlines began.
Development since the 2000s
Between 2002 and 2007, Air Malta embarked upon a fleet replacement programme, opting to change all aircraft to Airbus A319s and A320s, thus reducing the average age of the fleet to 2.5 years. The last aircraft in this order, an A320, was delivered on 22 March 2007.
Air Malta had around 190 interline ticketing agreements with other IATA airlines. According to the Association of European Airlines quarterly review of May 2006 Air Malta is the airline that loses the least amount of passenger baggage. The amount of baggage lost in the first quarter of 2006 was 4.1 bags missing per 1000 passengers.
In winter the airline often leases out aircraft to maximise earnings during the low season. In September 2007, for instance, Air Malta made two agreements with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways by which Air Malta wet-leased 2 Airbus aircraft to Etihad Airways for the winter period starting 1 September 2007, and provided operational support on another Airbus A320 aircraft leased by Etihad Airways. In January and February 2009 Air Malta wet-leased an A320 Sky Airline of Chile. In 2011,2012,2013,2014 Air Malta wet-leased again one A320 to Sky Airline.
In 2012 Air Malta underwent a re-branding process which has caused some controversy as the titles on aircraft and signage only says Malta, omitting the word Air. The airline insist this is not a name change, and the full name of the airline remains Air Malta. Additionally, the titles on the engines still say airmalta.com. The first plane to show off the new colours was the Airbus A320-200 9H-AEN at the Malta International Airshow 2012. On the second and last day of the show the A320 and the Spitfire performed a flypast as the closing act.
As a commemoration of the airline's 40 years of operation, the airline painted one of their aircraft, 9H-AEI, an A320-200, in retro colours, depicting the livery used on the Boeing 720Bs. 
The head office of the company is on Level 2 of the Skyparks Business Centre, located on the property of Malta International Airport in Luqa. In the 1960s and 1970s the head office of predecessor Malta Airlines was in Sliema.
As of October 2016, Air Malta operates the following aircraft:
Incidents and accidents
Since its inception in 1973, Air Malta has had no fatal accidents.
- On 31 October 1981, after a Boeing 737–200 landed in Cairo, Egypt, two bombs exploded, injuring 4 people. A third bomb that failed to detonate was found later.
- On 9 June 1997, Air Malta Flight 830, a Boeing 737–200, was hijacked by two Turks on a flight from Malta to Istanbul, Turkey. They demanded the release of Mehmet Ali Ağca. The hijack ended in Cologne, Germany with no casualties amongst the 74 passengers and 6 crew.
- Interview - Staff numbers
- "Contact Us." Air Malta. Retrieved on 21 September 2014. "Head Office Air Malta plc Level 2, Skyparks Business Centre Malta International Airport Luqa, Malta. LQA 4000"
- Flight International. 2 April 1964. 519 (Archive). "Head Office: Airways House, High Street, Sliema, Malta GC."
- Flight International. 6 May 1971. p. 636 (Archive). "Head office: Airways House, 6-10 High Street, Sliema, Malta."
- "Profile on Air Malta". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-10-30. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
- "List of Registered Aircraft". Transport Malta. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- Bombing description at the Aviation Safety Network
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1AZsxxe-CA TVM News report regarding hijackings in Malta
- http://avstop.com/news/830.html Air Malta Flight 830 Report
Media related to Air Malta at Wikimedia Commons