A slow start to the year followed by signs of a summer recovery: Malta International Airport looks at the first half of 2021

  • Malta recovering at a slower pace than its Southern European counterparts
  • MIA remains committed to working towards a sustainable recovery with partner airlines and tourism stakeholders
  • 12 new traffic developments secured for the summer season

Last June, 190,505 passengers travelled through Malta International Airport, representing a 153 per cent increase in traffic compared to the previous month.

These figures were presented by Malta International Airport’s Head of Traffic Development Alex Cardona during the company’s mid-year press conference held earlier today. In his presentation, Mr Cardona explained that total traffic in the first four months of 2021 was comparable to traffic handled in a single average week in the same period in 2019 as stringent travel restrictions in Malta and across Europe continued to delay the industry’s recovery.

Following these four months of very low passenger traffic, May brought the first signs of recovery at Malta International Airport as several airlines kick-started their summer operation and a number of routes connecting Malta to regional airports in important markets, including France, Italy and Spain, were resumed.

“This positive trend continued throughout June and into July spurred by the gradual easing of travel restrictions which, in turn, led to the release of a pent-up demand for air travel. However, the introduction of a blanket quarantine requirement for unvaccinated travellers in mid-July dealt an instant blow to the performance of the local tourism industry,” said Alex Cardona before proceeding to present detailed results for June.

Taking the floor after Mr Cardona, Malta International Airport Chief Executive Officer Alan Borg highlighted that the return of several airlines following a COVID-induced suspension of services and the upcoming start of a cruise and fly operation are encouraging votes of confidence in Malta as an attractive destination both in terms of its offering and epidemiological situation.

“The traffic performance for the first half of the year has been significantly impacted by the lack of uniformity in travel restrictions imposed by governments across Europe. Moreover, Malta’s current travel regulations are not positioning the island as an easy destination of choice with travellers looking to book a Mediterranean holiday,” said Malta International Airport CEO Alan Borg.

Airports Council International (ACI) Europe data for the period from May until 16th July shows that Malta (-75.9 per cent) is lagging behind its Southern European counterparts (-63.8 per cent) in its recovery as a result of a combination of restrictions which are making the island less attractive and the unavailability of domestic travel which is leading the way in Europe.

In conclusion, Mr Borg said that despite the fast-changing aviation landscape, which is being dominated by uncertainty and short-term planning, the company’s commitment to continue working with partner airlines and tourism stakeholders towards a sustainable recovery remains unchanged.

Published on: 29.07.2021