National airline Air Malta celebrates 45 years

Starting with just 53,500 passengers carried in the first year of operations, Air Malta now carries 1.8 million passengers every year

9H-AEI Air Malta plane (Photo: Ray Biagio Pace)
9H-AEI Air Malta plane (Photo: Ray Biagio Pace)

Air Malta celebrates its 45 years since it first started in 1973.

Air Malta was initially set up by a Resolution of Malta’s House of Representatives on 21 March 1973, 45 years ago. The airline was resisted as a limited liability company on 30 March 1973, and operated its first flight a year later on 1 April 1974.

Starting with just 53,500 passengers carried in the first year of operations, Air Malta now carries 1.8 million passengers every year and the number is expected to exceed 2 million this year. Since its first flight the airline has carried over 55 million passengers to and from Malta.  

Air Malta was set up with the primary aim to establish, maintain, develop and operate air transport services to and from Malta which, by the carriage of passengers, freight and mail, serve the national interest. 

“The airline was instrumental in opening up and connecting Malta to the rest of the world, in the process diversifying and opening up new tourism markets for the local tourism industry,” the airline said in a statement.

“It is a fact that were it not for the foresight of having a national airline and the continued efforts and investments from the airline over these 45 years, the local tourism industry would be nowhere close to where it is today.”

Air Malta started flying operations with two wet-leased Boeing 720Bs from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) operating its first flights to London and Rome.

The first routes operated by the airline were London, Birmingham, Manchester, Rome, Frankfurt, Paris and Tripoli. Air Malta now serves around 35 destinations with around 180 weekly flights to Europe, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.  

“Today the airline is one of the most important Maltese organisations not only assisting the tourism sector but also providing businesses that operate on the islands with a wide distribution network abroad for the carriage of passengers and cargo,” Air Malta said.

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