Flying between Newark and Malta isn’t a typical route for a German carrier. However, it’s a service that is set to run up to three times a week this summer, using Lufthansa’s Airbus A350s. This flight is actually a partnership with Viking Cruises, with the first service taking off from Newark yesterday.
The first flight of a special service
Taking off on July 30th from its Munich home, the Airbus A350-900 registered D-AIXL headed to Newark Liberty airport in New Jersey as LH412. This roughly eight-hour flight touched down in Newark at 18:53 local time.
While these flights would typically see the aircraft go back to Munich, or at least Lufthansa’s other hub at Frankfurt, it was instead destined for Luqa Airport, on the small island nation of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea. The flight, LH489, touched down in Malta today, July 31st, at 11:38 local time.
As already mentioned, this flight was arranged by Viking Cruises, which has partnered with Lufthansa to offer non-stop charter flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Malta.
Lufthansa’s New York-Malta schedule
According to Lufthansa, the airline has been chartered to operate 12 direct flights from the US to Malta. At a rate of three per week, this would see the service run through the month of August.
Here are is the schedule for this special service:
- LH489 – Newark (EWR) 20:45 – Malta (MLA) 11:25+1 – Airbus A350-900 – 08h40m
- LH488 – Malta (MLA) 15:15 – Newark (EWR) 19:00 – Airbus A350-900 – 09h45m
When asked about the service earlier this year in May, a Lufthansa spokesperson offered the following statement:
“Lufthansa plans to offer a series of flights this summer between New York (Newark Airport) and Malta in conjunction with a large cruise company which will operate cruises in the Mediterranean.”
Many firsts this weekend! First direct flight from @EWRairport, NJ 🇺🇸 to Malta 🇲🇹 operated by @lufthansa for @VikingCruises. In total Lufthansa will operate 12 direct flights from the US to Malta with our modern and efficient #A350 this summer. pic.twitter.com/vTeieNlsGt
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) July 31, 2021
If you’re looking to hop on this shorter, direct flight to Malta, it seems that you’re out of luck unless you’ve booked the cruise package first. Indeed, Lufthansa will only offer these flights to those booked onto a Viking Ocean Crusie. Therefore, including time for making a connection at a European hub airport, it looks like a standard itinerary will be closer to 11 hours rather than the roughly eight and a half hours afforded by the direct service.
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Viking Cruises in Malta
It was just last week that Viking celebrated its first post-pandemic sailing in the Mediterranean. According to Cruise Industry News, on July 23rd, guests embarked on the 930-passenger sister ships Viking Sea and Viking Venus in the Maltese capital city of Valletta.
“We are delighted to be back in the Mediterranean and to be homeporting in Valletta. On behalf of the entire Viking family, we thank the government of Malta for its support and partnership in developing these fantastic new voyages,” – Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, via Cruise Industry News.
According to Viking Cruises, the Maltese Government eased rules for the arrival of international travelers in June. The small nation now allows vaccinated Americans with CDC (Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards to arrive in the country.
On the American side, the CDC specifically ranked Malta as “Level 1” or the lowest for risk of COVID-19.
With these two major steps, tourists are now able to travel without having to quarantine at their destination or upon their return home. These cruises have been made even easier with Viking Cruises seeking the services of Lufthansa for direct flights.
What do you think of this arrangement? Is it something that cruise ship companies should do more often? Let us know in the comments.