Air Malta
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded31 March 1973 (1973-03-31)
Commenced operations1 April 1974 (1974-04-01)
AOC #MT-01
HubsMalta International Airport
Frequent-flyer program
  • Flypass
  • KMiles
Fleet size8
HeadquartersLuqa, Malta
Key peopleDavid Curmi (Executive Chairman) Declan Keller (Chief Operations Officer & Accountable Manager)

Air Malta (stylized as airmalta) is a Maltese airline headquartered in Luqa and its hub at Malta International Airport, and operates services to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; the airline is the flag carrier of Malta. The airline will cease operations on 30 March 2024 and will be replaced on the same day with a new flag carrier, KM Malta Airlines.[2][3]


Air Malta leased its first Boeing 720B's in 1974 and they were joined by another three a few years later.
Once a mainstay of the fleet, the Boeing 737-200 series has since been phased out, seen here at London Heathrow Airport in 1983.

Early years

Shortly after the Second World War, several small private airlines were formed in Malta. Amongst these were The Malta Instone Airline, BAS (Malta) Ltd, and Malta Airlines. In 1947, the former two companies merged to form Air Malta Ltd in fierce competition with the latter. Eventually in 1951 Malta Airlines absorbed the operations of Air Malta Ltd and continued operating through an agreement with BEA until 1973. The owners of Air Malta Ltd used their real estate, staff, and equipment to set up a ground handling company called MAS, Malta Aviation Services.

In the early 1970s, the Maltese government appointed Albert Mizzi as chairman of the airline and made a call for an international airline partner to help set up an airline and Pakistan's flag carrier PIA was selected for this purpose.[4] The name chosen for the new airline was similar to that of its forerunner, Air Malta Co Ltd, and was established on 31 March 1973. BEA was chartered to continue its Malta operations, this time for Air Malta, until Air Malta's first flight on 1 April 1974. Both Malta Airlines and Malta Aviation Services were taken over by the government and the private owners were given a shareholding in Air Malta Co. Ltd.

Air Malta started operations, with two wet leased Boeing 720Bs from Pakistan International Airlines that served Rome, Tripoli, London, Manchester, Frankfurt, and Paris from Malta. It later bought three more Boeing 720Bs and bought the original two.

In 1981, three Boeing 737-200s were wet leased, which were so successful that in 1983, three new fully owned Boeing 737-200s were delivered. In 1986, Air Malta bought three new Boeing 737-200s, and in 1987 ordered its first Airbus A320. In 1989, Air Malta exercised an option for one more A320, and in 1992, three more Boeing 737-300s were ordered and four Avro RJ70s were ordered for routes to Catania and Palermo, and to new destinations such as Tunis and Monastir.

After the opening of Malta International Airport in 1992, Air Malta created CargoSystems, which includes the transportation of cargo on Air Malta planes. In 1994, Air Malta inaugurated a cargo center at the airport. It was also during this time that a codesharing agreement with Trans World Airlines began.

21st century developments

An Air Malta Airbus A320-200 wearing the former livery in 2007

Between 2002 and 2007, Air Malta embarked upon a fleet replacement programme, opting to change all aircraft to Airbus A319s and A320s. The last aircraft in this order, an A320, was delivered on 22 March 2007, and the fleet has not been replaced since.

Air Malta had around 190 interline ticketing agreements with other IATA airlines. According to the Association of European Airlines quarterly review of May 2006, Air Malta is the airline that lost the least amount of passenger baggage. The amount of baggage lost in the first quarter of 2006 was 4.1 bags missing per 1000 passengers.

In winter, the airline often leases out aircraft to maximise earnings during the low season. In September 2007, for instance, Air Malta made two agreements with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways by which Air Malta wet-leased 2 Airbus aircraft to Etihad Airways for the winter period starting 1 September 2007, and provided operational support on another Airbus A320 aircraft leased by Etihad Airways. In January and February 2009 Air Malta wet-leased an A320 to Sky Airline of Chile. From 2011 to 2014 Air Malta wet-leased another A320 to Sky Airline.

In 2012 Air Malta underwent a re-branding process, which caused some controversy as the titles on aircraft and signage only say Malta, omitting the word Air. The airline insisted this was not a name change, and the full name of the airline remains Air Malta. Additionally, the titles on the engines still say The first plane to show off the new colours was the Airbus A320-200 9H-AEN at the Malta International Airshow 2012. On the second and last day of the show the A320 and a Spitfire performed a flypast as the closing act.

As a commemoration of the airline's 40 years of operation, the airline painted one of its aircraft, 9H-AEI, an A320-200, in retro colours, depicting the livery used on the Boeing 720Bs. The 9H-AEI aircraft debuted on April 16, 2014.

In June 2017, the newly appointed Minister for Tourism announced the restructuring of Air Malta.[5] This was also confirmed by the newly appointed chairman.[6] Air Malta then opened a number of new routes, including Tunis, Malaga (reduced to seasonal in 2019), Comiso (terminated after summer 2018), Kiev, Lisbon, Casablanca, Southend (terminated in 2019) and Cagliari (subsequently reduced to June–September only).[7] Manchester and Frankfurt were restarted after being briefly terminated.[8]

In March 2019, the airline announced that it had made a profit of €1.2 million in the fiscal year of 2018. This profit is the first the airline has made in 18 years.[9]

In August 2022, the Maltese government announced it would dissolve Air Malta should the European Union deny further financial state aid to the airline. It would then relocate its assets to a succeeding carrier.[10] Shortly after, the decision regarding the airline's future had been delayed to the end of 2022; however, the route network and frequencies saw extensive cuts by October 2022, including the termination of several destinations.[11]

On 18 April 2023, Chairman David Curmi announced that the European Commission declined to give permission to the Maltese government to inject 290 million euros of state aid into the airline.[12] On 2 October 2023, the Government announced plans for the closure of Air Malta on 30 March 2024, to be replaced by a new airline the next day. Also, Air Malta launched its final Air Malta aircraft, with a new livery with red and dark red on the back of the plane. A competitive process will be launched for the new airline to acquire the tender for the Air Malta branding which is owned by a government owned company, IP Holdings, which was set up by former minister Konrad Mizzi to transfer assets to show that the company earned a profit in 2018.

Corporate affairs

The head office of the company is on Level 2 of the Skyparks Business Centre, located on the property of Malta International Airport in Luqa.[13] In the 1960s and 1970s the head office of predecessor Malta Airlines was in Sliema.[14][15]


Main article: List of Air Malta destinations

Codeshare agreements

Air Malta codeshares with the following airlines:[16]


Air Malta Airbus A320-200
Air Malta Airbus A320neo

Current fleet

As of June 2023, Air Malta operates the following aircraft:[20][21]

Air Malta Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A320-200 2 12 150 162
Airbus A320neo 6 12 162 174
Total 8 0

Former fleet

Air Malta previously operated the following jet aircraft:

Incidents and accidents

Since its inception in 1973, Air Malta has had no fatal accidents.


  1. ^ "Air Malta on". Retrieved 21 November 2023.
  2. ^ Scicluna, Christopher (2 October 2023). "Air Malta to close in March, new airline to replace it, PM says". Reuters. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Maltese government to shut down and relaunch flag carrier". Business Traveller. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  4. ^ "History". Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  5. ^ Watch: No strategic partner before Air Malta is restructured - Konrad Mizzi
  6. ^ Air Malta shareholding only after restructuring - Mangion
  7. ^ Air Malta connects Malta with North Africa again, new scheduled Services to Tunis start 26th of June
  8. ^ Air Malta announces Frankfurt flight schedule as from end October
  9. ^ "Air Malta registers profit, but 'not out of the woods yet'".
  10. ^ (German) 19 August 2022
  11. ^ (German) 26 September 2022
  12. ^ (English) 18 April 2023
  13. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine." Air Malta. Retrieved on 21 September 2014. "Head Office Air Malta plc Level 2, Skyparks Business Centre Malta International Airport Luqa, Malta. LQA 4000"
  14. ^ Flight International. 2 April 1964. 519 (Archive). "Head Office: Airways House, High Street, Sliema, Malta GC."
  15. ^ Flight International. 6 May 1971. p. 636 (Archive). "Head office: Airways House, 6-10 High Street, Sliema, Malta."
  16. ^ "Airmalta Partners". Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  17. ^ Liu, Jim (20 April 2018). "airmalta / airBaltic begins codeshare service in S18". Routesonline. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  18. ^ Liu, Jim (24 April 2019). "airBaltic / airmalta expands codeshare network from April 2019". Routesonline. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  19. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David. "New Italian carrier ITA to codeshare with Air Malta". Flight Global. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  20. ^ "List of Registered Aircraft". Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  21. ^ "Air Malta Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  22. ^ "Air Malta retires last A319".
  23. ^ a b c "World Airline Directory". Flight International. 29 March 1995. p. 50.
  24. ^ "Air Malta MD-90".
  25. ^ "World Airline Directory". Flight International. 22 April 1978. p. 1130.
  26. ^, photos of Air Malta Boeing 727-200 aircraft
  27. ^ "World Airline Directory". Flight International. 24 March 1999. p. 46.
  28. ^, photo of Air Malta Convair 880 aircraft
  29. ^ Bombing description at the Aviation Safety Network
  30. ^ "Air Malta flight almost ended on Lockerbie style".
  31. ^ "TVM News report regarding hijackings in Malta". Archived from the original on 11 December 2021.
  32. ^ "Air Malta Flight 830 Report". Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Berlin bird strike causes Air Malta's New Year's Paris flight to be cancelled". Malta Independent. Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  34. ^ Meilak, Nicole. "Air Malta plane sustained 'significant damage' after bird strike, CEO says". Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  35. ^ "Air Malta cancels Paris flights after Berlin bird strike". Times of Malta. Retrieved 5 January 2023.

Media related to Air Malta at Wikimedia Commons