The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

Air Malta awarded the CAPA Turnaround Airline of the Year

The Malta Business Weekly Thursday, 29 November 2018, 10:57 Last update: about 7 months ago

Air Malta has scooped the 2018 'Turnaround Airline of the Year' at the prestigious CAPA World Aviation Outlook summit held in Berlin.

The Maltese airline was chosen amongst the world's airlines for its 'innovative strategic changes and/or a restructuring exercise'.

CAPA's Aviation Awards for Excellence are regarded as the pre-eminent awards for strategic excellence in aviation. This year's winners in various categories include Qantas Group, WOW air, CityJet, LEVEL and Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air's Chief Executive.


Dr Charles Mangion, Air Malta's Chairman, was presented with the award during the CAPA Aviation Awards ceremony.

Air Malta was selected for its successful transformation, from a heavy loss-making entity to a break-even result for the fiscal year ended March 2018.

In the statement announcing the winners CAPA said that Air Malta had been unprofitable for nearly 20 years as it struggled to overcome multiple challenges, including increasing competition from LCCs, outdated work practices and tensions in the North Africa market, which impacted its traditionally strongest routes.

It added that the flag carrier had accumulated operating losses of more than $300 million over the 10 years ended Mar-2017.Air Malta has rebuilt its operations with a financially viable business model and a hybrid product that now allows it to compete with LCCs.

The transformation included a cost control mind-set, increased aircraft utilisation, improved staff productivity and the move to a hybrid business model to serve today's increasingly price-driven industry.

"After a period of consolidation, in 2018 the airline increased significantly its routes, fleet and passengers to continue supporting the Maltese economy. Air Malta is planning further expansion in 2019, while renewing its current fleet with modern A320 neo aircraft and leveraging its new cost efficient hybrid model, while it supports the continued emergence of Malta as one of Europe's fastest growing holiday destinations," added CAPA.

Commenting upon receiving this award Dr Mangion said, "This is an honour for Air Malta and we are really proud of this achievement. This award reflects the difficult and hard work done to restructure the airline, the commitment to continue changing and the vision to grow Air Malta into the 'Airline of the Mediterranean'. I dedicate this award to the management and all the staff for their unrelenting daily efforts to continue improving Air Malta."

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi expressed that this prestigious award reflects how Air Malta as a national flag carrier, is moving towards the right direction. It is quite positive that CAPA, a world known stakeholder in the aviation sector, is recognising the transformation that Air Malta went through. "The next step would be a continuation of this vision and strategy that this government is spearheading in establishing Air Malta as the Airline of the Mediterranean. We are looking into several options aimed at expanding the airline's network, whilst creating new destinations and routes in Europe, Africa and the Middle-East", the minister stressed.

"Air Malta is a classic example of the need to remain relevant in the airline sector," CAPA Executive Chairman Peter Harbison said. "For a long time it had seemingly ignored the competition and accepted its own slow decline. But, with some brave decisions it has been reborn and is now profitably flying the flag for Malta. The higher fuel price and volatile currency rates are dark clouds, but Air Malta is now better positioned to weather these market forces." 

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