The Malta Independent 14 November 2018, Wednesday

Updated: First decision by Air Malta new board – Frankfurt route to be restarted

Thursday, 13 July 2017, 08:22 Last update: about 2 years ago

The Frankfurt route will be reopened again by Air Malta as from November, the airline said in a statement.

The decision was taken yesterday when Air Malta’s new board of directors met yesterday for the first time under the new chairmanship of Charles Mangion and in the presence of Minister of Tourism Konrad Mizzi.

The board reviewed the current financial situation and the commercial plans of the national airline and took its first commercial decisions.

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One of the board's first decisions was to recommence services to Frankfurt as from next November, operating four times a week in winter and daily in summer.

The airline has now embarked on an intensive campaign to market this new route. Air Malta had suspended its operations to Frankfurt this summer (2017), a move that was harshly criticised given its popularity considering that Frankfurt is one of the most important hubs in Europe.

Air Malta’s new services will be supported through a more aggressive sales force engaged by the airline as it is reorganising its commercial effort in Germany and other main markets mainly across Europe.

Further changes are expected in the commercial area including a new product range. These will be announced in the coming weeks, the statement said.

In a statement, the Gozo Tourism Association welcomed the announcement by Air Malta, saying that the closure of this route way was of a concern to the tourist industry on the Maltese Islands, and therefore the Gozo Tourism Association.

This is an important step to re-establish additional connectivity and seat capacity in winter from Germany, which is one of Malta’s tourism core markets, apart from the fact that Frankfurt is Germany’s main airport, and one of the busiest in Europe, the GTA said.

The Malta Tourism Authority welcomed the decision, with CEO Paul Bugeja noting the significance of this decision from the tourism perspective. "Frankfurt is a very important gateway for leisure and MICE traffic originating from Germany itself,  as well as traffic from the Nordic Countries, Eastern Europe,  Russia, and the former Soviet States, not to mention long haul markets like North America and Asia, including China, Japan and Korea, for which Frankfurt is one of the main European hubs. MTA is pleased to see Air Malta return to this major airport after a brief absence." 

Bugeja added that having an increased seat capacity and a wider choice of flights is positive for Malta. 'Ultimately, improved connectivity is in the best interest of the destination, the operators and the travelling public.' 

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) said Germany is one of the main tourism source markets for the Maltese islands and has shown positive increases over the last 6 years. Frankfurt is a very important International Hub and particularly important for the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events (MICE) business especially in the winter months.   

MHRA President Mr Tony Zahra said: "Over the past years, MHRA has been consistent in arguing that Air Malta must increase its flying if it is to survive. We are pleased to note that MHRA’s insistence is now being listened to and the re-introduction of the Frankfurt route is a very positive move forward and augurs well for the airline.”

“We are getting the feeling from discussions we have held with Minister Konrad Mizzi, that there is a new positive feeling about Air Malta which is so essential if Air Malta is to achieve the long sought for turnaround.  There seems to be a very determined effort to look at all past decisions and those that worked are maintained and those that did not will be changed.”

MHRA encouraged Mizzi to continue with this re-evaluation of past axed routes, and possibly new routes, cut the costs of operating, and to implement the necessary changes with determination to ensure that Air Malta not only returns to be a profitable airline but one that is not afraid of competition. MHRA considers what it has seen to date as all being very positive.

The Federated Association of Travel & Tourism Agents (FATTA) saw the decision as a significant signal that Air Malta has listened to the concerns of tourism operators and is committed to Malta as a destination.
 
FATTA President Iain Tonna said: “Frankfurt is not only important for point to point traffic, but is also one of Europe’s most important gateways for connectivity.   This development will significantly improve connectivity for both tourists visiting Malta and Maltese travelling abroad.   We firmly believe that a strong national carrier is key to maintaining Malta’s success in tourism and FATTA is therefore committed to continue supporting Air Malta’s efforts to improve its financial position.”

 

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