An Easyjet Airbus 319 was christened Pride of Malta today as it became the first aircraft to be rolled out of the maintenance facility or SR Technics in Malta.

The milestone was witnessed by the Prime Minister, who said that this project had reached this stage just 11 months after inception.

"It is evidence of the Maltese workers' ability and agility" Dr Gonzi said, pointing out that some of the workers up to last year worked at the dockyard, and others were unemployed.

EasyJet , one of Europe's leading low cost airlines, is SR Technics’ base load customer in . Some 150 of its jets will be serviced in Malta over the coming 10 years.

Dr Gonzi described the event as a strong show of confidence in Malta, its economy, its future prospects and its workforce.

“This is yet another major step towards our collective vision and belief - that of becoming a regional centre of repute in high value-added manufacturing and ancillary services.

“Today’s ceremony demonstrates that if all stakeholders work together towards the common goal, then this vision can continue to transform itself into reality.

“At a time when the world economy was under the grip of the worst economic crisis and developed economies were facing factory closures and investment shyness, Malta managed to lure one of the global leaders in aviation maintenance. This was no coincidence. It was the result of a nurtured economic strategy that capitalised on our strengths whilst reducing our inherent vulnerability.”

SR Technics CEO James Stewart said that through the partnership between easyJet and the involved Maltese organisations, SR Technics would make a substantial contribution to easyJet’s long-term growth and ongoing success by providing world-class levels of safety, quality, reliability and aircraft availability.

“The mutual aim of the partners is to set global standards in the industry in terms of operational quality and commercial terms,” he said.

Network Development and Planning Director Cath Lynn said that more than 150 aircraft would be passing through this facility during this period.

Malta was jointly selected by EasyJet and SR Technics as the ideal location for cost effective high quality maintenance.

“We’re confident in the success of this venture and as such are committed to a long term partnership with SR Technics and the island of Malta.”

The ceremony was also attended by Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Mario de Marco.

SR Technics announced its plans to establish a presence in Malta last November.

The operation in Malta allowed SR Technics to deliver its world-class MRO services from a new, highly attractive platform and to substantially increase its competitiveness in the labor-intensive airframe maintenance segment. As part of the ramp-up activities, a comprehensive recruiting and training program has been designed to ensure that the quality and operational standards for the Malta maintenance operation will be maintained to SR Technics’ brand standards.

SR Technics has also started to market its capacities for third-party customers. The company is using a two-bay hangar at Malta International Airport. Currently, SR Technics employs 124 staff at its new facility, the majority being Maltese.

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