Update 2 | Potential changes in Air Malta's Milan route questioned

Italian source says that Parma airport – one of the possible alternatives to Milan – 'ill-suited for travel'.

The Milan airport of Malpensa
The Milan airport of Malpensa "offers Malta the best possible travel for groups and travel-incentive tourists".

An Italian source in the travel business said that if Air Malta had to reduce its flights to Milan over the summer months, it would be "utter madness."

Describing Parma's airport - a possible alternative to Milan - as 'ill-suited for travel', the source suggested that Air Malta was not investing enough in the Milan flight.

Earlier today, Air Malta's Chief Commercial Officer Philip Saunders was contacted by MaltaToday and said that the airline's summer schedule to Milan was 'under review'.

At present, Air Malta operates to either Milan's Linate or Malpensa airport.

Saunders said that Air Malta did not want to find itself in a position - as it had in the past - where it was operating to one airport during weekdays and to another at the weekend.

"The reason for this is fairly obvious. Just imagine if a passenger had to fly from one airport, leaving his car parked at that airport, but then returns via another airport," he said.

He said that, at present, the airline could not be given reassurances that it could operate to the same airport but that it was pushing to operate to Milan's Linate airport on a daily and all-year-round basis.

"The issue with Milan in summer is that the airline is not given set slots, as it is in the winter months," he said.

Stressing that Air Malta's consideration was always towards its clientele, Saunders said that this was "not an optimal situation" for all parties.

"However, we will have a much clearer picture in the coming weeks," he said.

If indeed the Malta-to-Milan flights were reduced over the summer months, it could mean that the Malta-to-Parma and the Malta-to-Venice flights may take their place.

Asked by MaltaToday whether the airline envisaged a similar demand for these areas as that of the flights to Milan, Saunders said that Parma and Venice were, so far, proving to be "encouraging destinations".

However, an Italian source who preferred not to be named insisted that there were "no issues" with the Malpensa slots.

"Malpensa airport offers Malta the best possible travel for groups and travel-incentive tourists," the source said.

"It has everything to do with Air Malta not being good enough at promoting the Milan flight. It should be remembered that Air Malta staffing in Italy was cut down from 17 to 3, so one cannot be competitive if one does not invest in its resource."

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