Air Malta CEO says hybrid model must include social role for national airline

“The Maltese islands require a good strong airline, able to stand alone on its two feet and... a socially conscious operator that is so vital to an island nation”

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Matthew Vella
30 March 2017, 12:21pm
Air Malta’s acting chief executive officer Joseph Galea has described the low-fares airline industry as revolutionary, suggesting an irrevocable future for Air Malta as a hybrid airline.

“To compete with new LCC models many traditional full-service carriers like Air Malta have created new products, restructured and streamlined their processes, slashed costs and aggressively priced many routes. This has in turn also forced LCCs to change or enhance their business models as well,” Galea told the opening of the Amitex travel fair.

The hybrid model combines the cost-saving methods of a pure low-cost airline with the service, and route structure of a full-service carrier.

“The best of both worlds is creating a new strong basis for many airlines around the world, putting the needs of the customer central. We aim to be a hybrid carrier offering the best value for money, and the product a passenger expects yet fulfilling the needs of people wanting a full business class service or traditional economy class service,” Galea said.

But Air Malta is also currently looking for a strategic partner after talks with Alitalia to buy a minority 49% stake fell through.

“You have all noticed that our sales promotions have become very important to compete in the cut-throat and fast moving market by offering attractive low fares. These go a long way to reverse the misconception that Air Malta is expensive. It is imperative that Air Malta continues to receive support it needs. This support requires everyone’s understanding and cooperation including that of our shareholder, banks, suppliers, unions, employees, tour operators, travel agents and last but not least, the travelling public,” Galea said.

“The Maltese islands require a good strong airline, able to stand alone on its two feet and which fulfils the functions of a passenger and cargo carrier. Not only, the country also needs a socially conscious operator that is so vital to an island nation…

“Some neighbouring and larger countries within Europe are missing out on having their own airline. They have lost their own identity in aviation and today they are no longer masters of their own destiny and need to rely on the commercial interests of foreign airlines to provide air connectivity for them,” Galea said.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.