Last updated 10.45 am with Air Malta statement below
Malta is suspending all inbound flights by the end of the week, according to an official notice issued overnight. Air Malta is also suspending all commercial flights.
"Based on a decision taken by the Malta health authorities, all passenger flights inbound to Malta are temporarily suspended," the notice reads.
"Flights departing before 23.59UTC on the 20th March 2020 are exempted. The ban does not apply to ferry flights, cargo flights, humanitarian flights and repatriation flights.
"Maltese authorities may in special cases exempt individual flights."
In a statement, Malta International Airport appealed to passengers who were planning on travelling in the coming days to contact their respective airlines for more information about their flights. Airline contact details may be found at: https://www.maltairport.com/passenger/flights-landing/airlines/.
"As of 21 March 2020, Malta International Airport will remain operational to facilitate the arrival and departure of cargo, humanitarian, and ferry flights until further notice," it said.
It urged people to refrain from visiting the airport unless they are travelling in order to limit crowding and allow for social distancing to be observed.
"Saturday will be a dark day for the local aviation industry and all stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to ensure the industry’s growth and success over the past years. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for us to work together with government and all industry players to see the local aviation industry through these trying times,” said Malta International Airport CEO Alan Borg.
The decision comes after Malta last week banned travel to Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and Spain.
It also imposed a 14-day mandatory quarantine on arriving travellers from all countries.
Earlier this month Borg said seven airlines had cancelled 278 flights. That number has since increased
“The Covid-19 outbreak is putting aviation and tourism stakeholders across the globe to the test as passenger demand for air travel plummets and airlines cut capacity across the board,” Mr Borg said.
Times of Malta reported on Tuesday that Maltese in the UK were being urged to return home as soon as possible by the high commission in London.
Maltese nationals living in the UK were being contacted by the Malta High Commission and told to book the soonest flight back to Malta.
Air Malta to suspend all commercial flights
Air Malta said it would suspend all commercial flights from Saturday.
It said on Wednesday that customers affected by this ban have the following options:
1) Maltese Nationals affected from this travel ban and who are currently outside Malta need to contact the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs Office. Residents can contact the airline on +356 22042200 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. The ministry will be organising repatriation flights.
2) Non-Maltese Nationals need to contact their respective embassies.
3) Customers who were to start their trip within the next 48 hours and have queries about their tickets can contact the airline’s call centre on +356 25991230.
4) Customers who will not be travelling within the next 48 hours and all other passengers that require refunds can send an email to email@example.com.
Are you impacted by the flight suspension? Share your story with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org