Ryanair announced on Tuesday that it had acquired Maltese startup airline Malta Air. Readers should not confuse this with the established airline based in the country called Air Malta.
Ryanair will move 6 aircraft to Malta Air that will operate flights from the country to 60 destinations around Europe and North Africa. The airline will also move 50 aircraft under the Maltese AOC (air operator’s certificate) from France, Italy and Germany that will continue to operate under the Ryanair brand.
Here’s the announcement from Ryanair:
Ryanair Holdings, Europe’s largest airline group, today (11th June) announced it has agreed to purchase Malta Air, a Maltese start up airline, into which Ryanair will move and grow its Malta based fleet of 6 B737 aircraft.
This investment in Malta Air will allow Ryanair to grow its already sizable presence in Malta (3m customers p.a.), and access non-EU markets (North Africa) from Malta. Completion is planned for the end of June, following which Ryanair Holdings will;
- Switch 6 Malta based aircraft (worth over $600m) onto the Maltese register
- 200 Malta based crew move onto local contracts paying local Maltese taxes
- Increase its Malta based fleet to 10 aircraft within three years and create over 350 jobs
- Brand its Malta based fleet in Malta Air colours for Summer 2020
- Move Ryanair based aircraft from France, Italy and Germany onto the Malta AOC which will allow these crews to pay their income taxes locally in France, Italy and Germany instead of Ireland where they are currently required to pay income taxes under Ryanair’s Irish AOC.
Speaking in Malta today, Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary said:
“Ryanair is pleased to welcome Malta Air to the Ryanair Group of airlines which now includes Buzz (Poland), Lauda (Austria), Malta Air, and Ryanair (Ireland).
Malta Air will proudly fly the Maltese name and flag to over 60 destinations across Europe and North Africa as we look to grow our Maltese based fleet, routes, traffic and jobs over the next three years.
Ryanair’s continued partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority will help drive forward the vision of Prime Minister Muscat and Minister Mizzi to grow year round connections to all corners of Europe which will support increased tourism, business and jobs in Malta.
Ryanair appreciates the expertise of the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) in licencing Malta Air to operate the B737 aircraft and we look forward to working closely with the Maltese authorities over the coming years as we hope to add over 50 more aircraft to the Maltese register.”
Malta Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi, said:
“The relationship between Ryanair and Malta has evolved into a successful collaboration. We welcome Ryanair’s commitment to operate and grow a fully fledged Malta-based airline which will contribute in a large way to the country’s development.”
Doesn’t anyone else see the coming confusion between Malta Air and Air Malta flights if they fly to same destination?
Malta must have given a sweet deal to Ryanair for them to move the 50 aircraft in the coming years from a number of European countries under the Maltese AOC.
Ryanair already has number of subsidiaries including Lauda Air (former NIKI that was part of Airberlin), Polish based Buzz and Ryanair UK. It would be easier for the airline to move planes and crews if they are under the same branding.