Airport passenger numbers break records

This surge in passenger numbers was accompanied by a 13.8% rise in flight operations.

The Malta International Airport experienced a historic milestone in May, with over 800,000 passengers passing through its gates. This marked the first time such a number was achieved in the fifth month of the year, surpassing the previous record set in July last year. Specifically, the airport registered 858,402 passenger movements, an 18.2% increase compared to May 2023.

This surge in passenger numbers was accompanied by a 13.8% rise in flight operations, totalling 5,607 flights. Additionally, there was a 14.1% increase in available seats on these flights, contributing to a seat load factor of 85.9%. This high seat load factor indicates efficient use of available flight capacity and strong demand for air travel.

Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany remained the top markets for the Maltese airport, accounting for just over 50% of total traffic. France and Poland followed as the fourth and fifth most significant markets, respectively. Notably, traffic to and from Poland saw the most substantial growth, with an impressive 62.4% increase over May 2023.

In addition to these positive developments, EasyJet announced the introduction of two weekly flights from Malta to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport starting on December 10. This is part of EasyJet’s expansion of new routes, which includes destinations such as Prague, Marrakech, Berlin, and Fuerteventura.

Furthermore, an agreement was recently signed where EasyJet acquired SR Technics, a Malta-based company specialising in aircraft maintenance and repair. EasyJet plans to invest in SR Technics’ facility in Ħal Farruġ, creating a maintenance and repair hub for its fleet. This agreement brings the total number of major European airlines with maintenance facilities in Malta to three, including Lufthansa and Ryanair.

To further enhance Malta’s connectivity, the national airline, KM Malta Airlines, signed a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines. This partnership provides more flexible travel options for passengers on direct flights between Istanbul and Malta. The collaboration allows KM Malta Airlines to offer its flight numbers on Turkish Airlines flights, enhancing connectivity and attracting more visitors to Malta.

Moreover, Malta is set to welcome the cruise liner Explora 1 for the first time at Valletta Cruise Port on 22nd June. Managed by MSC Group, Explora 1 is known for its sustainability practices and offers a range of amenities, including restaurants, entertainment venues, pools, and private cabanas. The cruise liner travels to various destinations, including Northern Europe, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Greenland, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Hawaii.

These developments reflect Malta’s robust efforts to boost its tourism sector. Notably, Malta registered the highest percentage of tourist nights spent in accommodation among EU countries in the first quarter of this year, with 91%. This impressive statistic highlights the effectiveness of Malta’s tourism policies and the country’s recovery from the pandemic, achieving a record number of tourist arrivals.

To minimise inconvenience for tourists, the government has restricted demolition and excavation works in tourist areas from 15th June to 30th September. This annual measure aims to reduce disruption in specific zones, ensuring a pleasant experience for visitors.

Overall, these initiatives stand to show Malta’s commitment to enhancing its tourism infrastructure, ensuring a positive experience for visitors, and maintaining its position as a premier destination in the Mediterranean.

Photo: MIA

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