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The Times of Malta is reporting that Ryanair is set to launch a new low cost airline called… ‘Malta Air’,
“Low-cost travel giant Ryanair is setting up a new airline to be based in Malta. Industry sources said the Irish carrier’s holding company is in the process of setting up a new airline that will incorporate the 61 Ryanair routes to and from the island, effectively replacing it.
Ryanair has also committed, during negotiations with the government, to the generation of several other new routes and will be doubling its fleet in Malta to 10 planes, with plans to grow even further in the near future… The low-cost market leader will also be setting up hangar facilities for repair and maintenance operations in Malta.
The new headquarters of Malta Air, as the company will be called, will employ about 350 people within the next three years, one senior government official said.
The Sunday Times of Malta reports that the government will hold golden shares in the new airline and will have a veto when it comes to issues related to sale of the airline to third parties.
“We primarily wanted to lock in Ryanair to the island as it is the main carrier here and we have therefore got a certain level of dependency on it as a country,” a government source familiar with the workings of the deal said.
From a consumer point of view, the source said, Malta Air would be priced as competitively as Ryan Air has been so far. “
If ‘Malta Air’ sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you are thinking of the existing national airline ‘Air Malta’.
A cynic might suggest that the similarity in names isn’t entirely coincidental. Government-owned Air Malta doesn’t have a great financial track record, and politicians have struggled for decades to come up with a credible plan for long term success under Government control, or for privatisation.
Maltese Government sources are very (very!) keen to stress that Malta Air is not being set up as part of plan to scale back Air Malta. Time will tell whether that’s actually true 😉
Are you looking forward to flying with Malta Air?