Malta's new national airline has been granted an air operator licence as it prepares for its inaugural flight on March 31.

KM Malta Airlines, will operate flights as Air Malta, the same name as the existing carrier. 

In a statement on Friday, KM Malta Airlines said it had been granted an air operator certificate and an air operator licence from Malta's Civil Aviation Directorate.

The new airline was created after the European Commission refused to accept a government request for fresh state funding for the current flag carrier.

"The vision, ambition and mandate of KM Malta Airlines is to protect and enhance the connectivity of the Maltese Islands to Europe and beyond, to support the Islands’ continued economic development and to grow into a successful and sustainable airline.

"KM Malta Airlines will adopt a key European destination focus, linking Malta with the main capital cities in western Europe, with the primary European airport hubs, and connecting with partner airlines," it said.

Booking system launch delayed to Monday

With the licence announcement, the airline also said it had launched its Summer 2024 Schedule and will open for bookings on Monday.

The system was originally meant to launch on Friday.

The summer schedule will operate from March 31 to October 26.

In summer, the new Air Malta intends to serve 17 airports across 15 cities, operating 8,546 flights and offering 1,430,000 seats.

It will perform 284 weekly flights, reaching an average aircraft utilisation of 12 hours eight minutes per unit day.

Air Malta's summer programme includes:

  • 82 weekly flights between Malta and Italy
  • 48 weekly flights between Malta and France
  • 44 weekly flights between Malta and the United Kingdom
  • 40 weekly flights between Malta and Germany

The airline said that, according to plan, it has also launched its recruitment programme and will be seeking to recruit some 375 employees with the first call being made for captains and first officers.

It will operate a young single-type aircraft fleet of eight Airbus 320NEOs, in a two-class configuration with a flexible business class cabin averaging 168 total saleable seats with up to 36 business class seats.

The airline said it is eagerly anticipating welcoming its first passengers onboard its aircraft.

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