The Malta Independent 24 April 2019, Wednesday

Updated: Air Malta turns €10.8m loss into €1.2m profit in year ending March 2018

Saturday, 23 March 2019, 12:12 Last update: about 1 month ago

Air Malta today announced that it had turned a €10.8 million deficit registered at the end of March 2017 into a profit of €1.2 million in year ending March 2018.

When non-recurring items are taken into account, including the payment of the early retirement schemes and the gain on the disposal of landing rights, the airline registered a profit of €15.7 million, compared to the €13.1 million loss at end March 2017.

The results were announced today during the airline’s annual general meeting, which was held at the Corinthia Hotel in Attard.

Air Malta’s operating revenue increased by €5.3 million to €197.5 million, mainly driven by an 11% increase in the number of passengers, 8.5% increase in flights and a 2.8% improvement in seat load factor.

Total operating costs decreased by €6.5 million, mainly attributed to a decrease in the price of fuel, aircraft leases and maintenance costs.

Chairman Charles Mangion said that the company had registered a profit for the first time in 18 years.

He said the company cannot rest on its laurels and much more needs to be done to take the company out of the woods and put firmly on sustainable ground.

“Our growth strategy is underway and is being executed in an extremely competitive environment and a continually changing aviation scenario. The main challenge for Air Malta is on how fast it can adapt successfully to change, he said.

He said that in the last two years a number of long established airlines went into administration, largely as a result of pressures on fare price while costs were on the rise. “This reality is being and will continue to be faced by Air Malta in foreseeable and more distant future,” he said.

Mangion highlighted that Air Malta will be celebrating its 45 year Anniversary on 1st April and that hopefully the airline will continue to grow through investments and the support of the Maltese. “Air Malta has been here 45 years, I assume that we all wish Air Malta to be here stronger and bigger 45 years from now.”

Air Malta is a story of change lead by leadership and determination: Tourism Minister

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi reflected on the importance of Air Malta, not just financially but also its cultural significance. “Air Malta carries a sense of national pride, and the airline is the lifeline of the country.” He said that before 2013 the airline was facing numerous challenges, losing a lot of money and the company felt an overwhelming sense of demotivation.

He said that AirMalta has gained many positive achievements such as the addition of 21 new routes, the increase in passenger numbers and revenue and the increase in fleet. “This success is due to the devotion of people, as they are the islands main resource, not oil or gas.” He hopes to see Air Malta flights landing in big international airports, the likes of JFK airport in New York and in Dubai as the airline grows in performance and investments.

“From nearly a €31 million loss, today we are proud to announce a €1.2 million profit, which means an improvement of €32 million over a span of six years,” said Air Malta’s Chief Financial Officer Omar Bonello. He reflected on five major milestones which have helped the improvement of the airline. Firstly the better aircraft utilisation, the implementation of a new sales strategy, there is being an investment in IT technology, the signing of all four collective agreements with unions to give a strong base for increase productivity. He added that there is also flexibility and industrial peace stability, and lastly the negotiation of more “favourable” terms with the airline’s suppliers. 

Air Malta awarded the CAPA turn around airline of the year in 2018

“Despite all the business pressures and challenges, Air Malta was awarded the CAPA turn around airline of the year in 2018”, said CEO Capt. Clifford Chetcuti. He said that the airline is aware of the growing competitive pressures and fluctuating fuel prices, but that growth and success is achievable. 

Paul Sies, Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer added, “During this financial year we increased capacity by 20%, achieving a growth of 11% more passengers. The new routes generated a +€12 million increase in revenue.” During the conference he also announced that as from next month, Air Malta will be launching its new Business class service where passengers will be offered new gourmet menus presented in traditional Maltese ceramic crockery, showcasing the island’s heritage.

Chief information Officer, Alan Talbot spoke about the importance of digital transformation at Air Malta, and the turning focus on how the airline will be using Artificial Intelligence.  There was also Charlene Camilleri, spoke about the Ancillary Revenue unit and announced new Air Malta merchandise which will be celebrating the 45th Anniversary, alongside with future plans of introducing a system of pre ordering meals for flights.

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