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Updated | Reopening of Air Malta’s Frankfurt report gets operators’ thumbs up

Air Malta flights to Frankfurt, a major airline hub, will re-commence from November

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
13 July 2017, 9:34am
Last updated on 13 July 2017, 1:26pm
Air Malta will once again start flying to Frankfurt Airport as of November
Air Malta will once again start flying to Frankfurt Airport as of November
Air Malta has decided to recommence services to Frankfurt as from November, operating four times a week in winter and daily in summer.

The national airline had axed its operations to Frankfurt, a major airline hub last year, arguing that its decision was based on the route’s weak performance.

However, the new board of directors – chaired by former Labour MP Charles Mangion – decided on Wednesday to bring back the route.

“The board reviewed the current financial situation and the commercial plans of the national airline and took its first commercial decisions,” Air Malta said in a statement. “One of the board’s first decisions was to recommence services to Frankfurt.”

It added that it will embark on an extensive campaign to market this new route, and that its re-opened route to Frankfurt will be “supported through a more aggressive sales force engaged by the airline as it is reorganizing its commercial efforts in Germany and other main markets mainly across Europe”.

Further commercial changes, including a new product range, will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Gozo Tourism Association was among the first associations to welcome the news.

“The closure of this route way back in March of this year, was of concern to the tourist industry on the Maltese Islands, and therefore the Gozo Tourism Association,  appreciates the decision by the national carrier board to re-open the Frankfurt route,” GTA CEO Joe Muscat said.

“This is an important step to re-establish additional connectivity and seat capacity in winter from Germany, one of Malta’s tourism core markets, apart from the fact that Frankfurt is Germany’s main airport and one of the busiest in Europe.”

Malta Hotels & Restaurants Association President Tony Zahra reiterated that Air Malta should increase its flying, if it is to survive.

“We are pleased to note that MHRA’s insistence is now being listened to and the re-introduction of the Frankfurt route is a very positive move forward and augurs well for the airline,” Zahra said.

“We are getting the feeling from discussions we have held with Minister Konrad Mizzi, that there is a new positive feeling about Air Malta which is so essential if Air Malta is to achieve the long sought for turnaround.  There seems to be a very determined effort to look at all past decisions and those that worked are maintained and those that did not will be changed.”

The MHRA urged Mizzi to continue with the re-evaluation of past axed routes, and possibly new routes, cut the costs of operating, and to implement the necessary changes with determination to ensure that Air Malta not only returns to be a profitable airline but one that is not afraid of competition.

The news was also welcomed by travel and tourism agents. The Federated Association of Travel & Tourism Agents (FATTA) said this was a significant signal that Air Malta had listened to the concerns of tourism operators and was committed to Malta as a destination.
 
FATTA President Iain Tonna said: “Frankfurt is not only important for point to point traffic, but is also one of Europe’s most important gateways for connectivity. This development will significantly improve connectivity for both tourists visiting Malta and Maltese travelling abroad. We firmly believe that a strong national carrier is key to maintaining Malta’s success in tourism and FATTA is therefore committed to continue supporting Air Malta’s efforts to improve its financial position.”

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