Open main menu

Air Malta plc (stylized as airmalta) 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, the Middle East and North Africa.

Air Malta
Air Malta (2012).svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1973; 46 years ago (1973)
AOC #MT-01
HubsMalta International Airport
Frequent-flyer programFlypass
Fleet size11
Company sloganThe airline of the Maltese Islands.
HeadquartersLuqa, Malta
Key peopleClifford Chetcuti (CEO)
Charles Mangion (Chairman)



Air Malta leased its first Boeing 720B’s in 1974 and they were joined by another three a few years later.
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 yearsEdit

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 737–200s were wet leased, which were so successful that in 1983, 3 new fully owned Boeing 737-200s were delivered. In 1986, Air Malta bought 3 new Boeing 737-200s, 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 737–300s were ordered and 4 Avro RJ70s 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 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 2000sEdit

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 the fleet has 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 lost 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 to Sky Airline of Chile. From 2011 to 2014 Air Malta wet-leased another A320 to Sky Airline.

In 2012 Air Malta underwent a re-branding process, which caused some controversy as the titles on aircraft and signage only say Malta, omitting the word Air. The airline insisted this was 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 a Spitfire performed a flypast as the closing act.

As a commemoration of the airline's 40 years of operation, the airline painted one of its aircraft, 9H-AEI, an A320-200, in retro colours, depicting the livery used on the Boeing 720Bs. [1]

In June 2017, the newly appointed Minister for Tourism announced the restructuring of Air Malta.[2] This was also confirmed by the newly appointed chairman.[3] Air Malta then opened a number of new routes, including Tunis, Malaga, Comiso (terminated after summer 2018), Kiev, Lisbon, Casablanca, Southend and Cagliari.[4] Manchester and Frankfurt were re-started after being briefly terminated.[5]

In March 2019, the airline announced that it had made a small profit of 1.2 million in the fiscal year of 2018. This profit is the first the airline has made in 18 years.[6]

On the 1st of April 2019, Air Malta celebrated 45 years since it commenced its first operations. Currently the airline is restructuring itself in order to be a successful company. The company will also be aiming to increase its fleet to 14 aircraft. [7]The plans at the moment includes the replacement of the current fleet with newer Airbus A320 Neo aircraft. In the next five years there are also plans to commence flights to Asia and North America landing in cities like New York, Dubai, and Mumbai. These routes will eventually be served with extended range A321LR aircraft.[8] [9]

Corporate affairsEdit

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.[10] In the 1960s and 1970s the head office of predecessor Malta Airlines was in Sliema.[11][12]



As of September 2019, Air Malta operates the following aircraft:[16][17][18]

Air Malta Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A319-100 1 9 132 140
Airbus A320-200 7 8 162 170 One leased from Smartlynx
180 180
Airbus A320neo 3 180 180
Total 11

Incidents and accidentsEdit

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


  1. ^ Interview - Staff numbers
  2. ^ Watch: No strategic partner before Air Malta is restructured - Konrad Mizzi
  3. ^ Air Malta shareholding only after restructuring - Mangion
  4. ^ Air Malta connects Malta with North Africa again, new scheduled Services to Tunis start 26th of June
  5. ^ Air Malta announces Frankfurt flight schedule as from end October
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "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"
  11. ^ Flight International. 2 April 1964. 519 (Archive). "Head Office: Airways House, High Street, Sliema, Malta GC."
  12. ^ Flight International. 6 May 1971. p. 636 (Archive). "Head office: Airways House, 6-10 High Street, Sliema, Malta."
  13. ^ "Profile on Air Malta". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 30 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  14. ^ Liu, Jim (20 April 2018). "airmalta / airBaltic begins codeshare service in S18". Routesonline. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  15. ^ Liu, Jim (24 April 2019). "airBaltic / airmalta expands codeshare network from April 2019". Routesonline. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  16. ^ "List of Registered Aircraft". 3 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Air Malta Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Air Malta Fleet | Airfleets aviation". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  19. ^ Bombing description at the Aviation Safety Network
  20. ^ "Air Malta flight almost ended on Lockerbie style".
  21. ^ "TVM News report regarding hijackings in Malta".
  22. ^ "Air Malta Flight 830 Report".

External linksEdit

  Media related to Air Malta at Wikimedia Commons