Swedes living in Malta have given a frosty reception to news that there will only be one direct flight per week to Sweden this winter.

Ryanair, the sole carrier that operates direct winter flights between Malta and Sweden, will only fly to/from Stockholm Skavsta on Sundays from November 11.

It currently also flies to/from Stockholm Skavsta on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Many Swedish people living in Malta rely on Ryanair to get home so this will hit us hard,” said Robert Larsson, part of the burgeoning population of Swedes working in online gaming in Malta.

Mr Larsson said many Swedes liked to travel home for a few days , but this would no longer be possible with Ryanair. He also expressed concern that a reduction in capacity would push up fares, though there were many winter return flights to/from Stockholm Skavsta available for less than €100 on the Ryanair website yesterday.

Ryanair had introduced flights between Malta and Malmo in Sweden last May, but the Ryanair website carried a message yesterday saying, “Sorry, but we don’t operate the route Malmo-Malta at the moment.”

SAS Scandinavian Airlines operates its Malta-Stockholm route via Frankfurt in winter with return fares generally in excess of €400.

Ryanair Malta marketing manager Luis Fernandez-Mellado said the decision to reduce capacity on the Stockholm Skavsta route this winter was taken because of the “huge increase” in oil prices and “weak demand”.

He added that Ryanair’s forecast for the success of even one flight per week between Malta and Stockholm was not very optimistic, but it decided not to stop flights altogether because of the large community of Swedish expats in Malta and the opportunity to develop the market for Scandinavian tourists out of peak season.

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