You might soon be able to fly to the hidden Mediterranean country of Malta from New York or Toronto!
Currently, Air Malta only flies to regional cities off the coast of their island, with a few long-haul flights from the middle east linking them to the world network.
But this could all change when Air Malta adds a new A321LR to their fleet in the next three to four years.
“It is important for Air Malta to focus on the main airports in Europe, Scandinavia, Cairo Int’l, and the Middle East and in three to four years’ time we should have flights to New York and Toronto Pearson” – Konrad Mizzi, Malta’s Tourism Minister
What are Air Malta’s plans?
Air Malta wants to create three new long-haul routes between Malta, to New York, Toronto, and Mumbai.
In the last year, Malta saw around 120 US tourists a day. A number that the tourism bureau of Malta sees’s as not good enough. As Air Malta is owned outright by the government, they have decided that the best way to get more tourists is to ferry them over themselves.
Currently, Air Malta has one A319-200, seven A320-200’s and one A320neo. To become an international long-haul airline they would need to upgrade their fleet with something special.
There might be one problem however
However, these distances are a little extreme for their plane of choice, the A321LR.
For example, Malta to New York is 7,380 km and the Airbus A321LR only does 7,600 km. This is dangerously close to the maximum range and they would be pushing it with this single-aisle aircraft.
Their alternative choices would be investing in wide-body aircraft, but Mizzi clarified that the flag carrier does not plan to add widebody capacity for the time being given the associated costs and risks. It would, instead, focus on the most effective narrowbody aircraft.
Also, Malta is a season destination. They will be competing with other tourist routes from North America throughout the peak season and they would struggle to have enough business justifying the routes in winter. Whether or not they run these services just the summer period has not been discussed but might be worthwhile.
Part of the problem is also awareness. Does the average American consider Malta as a destination to go to?
Some industry commentators have raised the idea that they should incentivize other airline s(such as Delta) to fly there seasonally instead, rather than spending the money on their own fleet. Additionally, they could wet lease a bigger plane (The airport if fully A380 capable, and is actually one of the homes of the HiFly A380) to fly just for the season.
At the end of the day, Malta is a lovely destination and if there were direct flights from New York it would quickly be at the top of most people’s wish lists.
What do you think? Would you fly from New York to Malta?