Air Malta

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Air Malta
Air Malta (2012).svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1973
Hubs Malta International Airport
Frequent-flyer program Flypass
Fleet size 7
Destinations 39
Company slogan The airline of the Maltese Islands.
Headquarters Luqa, Malta
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.


Once a mainstay of the fleet, the Boeing 737-200 series has since been phased out, seen here at London Heathrow Airport in 1983.

Early years[edit]

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[edit]

An Air Malta Airbus A320-200 wearing the former livery in 2007

Between 2002 and 2007, Air Malta embarked upon a fleet replacement programme, opting to change all aircraft to Airbus A319s and A320s. The last aircraft in this order, an A320, was delivered on 22 March 2007 and have not been replaced since.

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 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. [1]

Corporate affairs[edit]

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.[2] In the 1960s and 1970s the head office of predecessor Malta Airlines was in Sliema.[3][4]


Codeshare agreements[edit]

Air Malta codeshares with the following airlines:[5]


Air Malta Airbus A319-100 in current livery

As of April 2017, Air Malta operates the following aircraft:[6]

Air Malta Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A319-100 2 8 133 141
Airbus A320-200 6 12 168 180
0 180 180
Total 8

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Since its inception in 1973, Air Malta has had no fatal accidents.


  1. ^ Interview - Staff numbers
  2. ^ "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"
  3. ^ Flight International. 2 April 1964. 519 (Archive). "Head Office: Airways House, High Street, Sliema, Malta GC."
  4. ^ Flight International. 6 May 1971. p. 636 (Archive). "Head office: Airways House, 6-10 High Street, Sliema, Malta."
  5. ^ "Profile on Air Malta". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-10-30. Retrieved 2016-10-30. 
  6. ^ "List of Registered Aircraft". Transport Malta. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  7. ^ Bombing description at the Aviation Safety Network
  8. ^
  9. ^ TVM News report regarding hijackings in Malta
  10. ^ Air Malta Flight 830 Report

External links[edit]

Media related to Air Malta at Wikimedia Commons