The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Celebrating 20 years of Air Malta links with Prague

Thursday, 11 July 2019, 12:04 Last update: about 11 days ago

The 20th anniversary commemorating Air Malta services to Prague is yet another milestone achieved by our national airline, an airline that successive governments have always been proud of. We, as government, consider Air Malta to be part of the island's critical infrastructure, not only intended to facilitate travel to and from Malta, but to act as a vital bridge to the rest of the continent and beyond. And this is why we have a very clear vision for this airline to have a bright future.

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This was the initial statement of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at the Corinthia Hotel in Prague during an event organised by Air Malta commemorating the 20th anniversary of flights between Malta and Prague.

This anniversary means that Air Malta has serviced this route for almost half of its existence. Government's strategy for the airline is to keep adopting a strategy of growth. During the past years, Air Malta has undergone a restructuring process, after which we have seen the airline adding new planes to its fleet, including a brand-new Airbus A320 neo, increasing routes and flying new destinations. These important strategic measures have led for the airline to successfully register its first operational profits after 18 years of registering losses. For the years ahead, Air Malta will keep focusing on sustaining and continuously upgrading its business-class offering and fly premium destinations, medium-haul routes such as New York in the US and Mumbai in India, and the African region.

These improvements are not only important to the airline itself, but to the country's economy as a whole. For the past 45 years, the airline has contributed significantly to the country's economy, being a crucial element in one of our major economic contributors - our tourism industry.

What is most relevant and interesting, is that in spite of all of Malta's economic restructuring and sustained, above-average GDP growth, tourism has managed to retain its traditional direct share of around one sixth of the Maltese economy, climbing to even higher levels when its impressive economic multipliers are taken into account, said the Prime Minister.

This implies that tourism has kept in step with economic growth rather than losing ground in the face of alternative services sectors. This is why as a government, even with the help of Air Malta, we must ensure this sector's sustainability. This is even more relevant in the case of small destinations like Malta and Gozo, where the issue of sustainable tourism development has a very huge bearing.

Prime Minister Muscat emphasised that the Corinthia Hotel is a clear example of how a Maltese family-inspired business can grow and establish a global and luxury hotel brand. The Prime Minister concluded that it is inspiring to have such a brand portraying luxury in a number of cities around the globe and hanging the Maltese flag on its doorstep.

The event was addressed also by the Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi who said that this event is celebrating the success of the two countries and the chairman of Air Malta, Dr Charles Mangion who outlined the vision for the future of the national airline. 


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