Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 July, 2021 at 1:15 pm by Andre Camilleri
Air Malta has received 15,000 booking cancellations for travel during this month since Malta introduced restrictions on travel earlier this month. In June, Malta actively opened up for tourism, allowing both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists to enter the country.
However, the country began to see a surge in positive Covid cases in July. Then, on 9 July, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne announced that only people with a recognised vaccination certificate will be allowed to travel to Malta and that English language schools were to close.
The new rules came into effect on 14 July and anyone not travelling to Malta with a recognised vaccination certificate needs to undergo a mandatory quarantine. This news has impacted Malta’s tourism industry. Contacted by this newsroom, Air Malta said that it has experienced a significant change in booking trends since the restrictions were announced.
The change was not only limited to right after the announcement, as the airline said that the effects are still being experienced now. Responding to questions sent on Friday, the airline said that over the past 13 days “there have been a total of over 15,000 seats cancelled which had been previously booked for travel during the month of July. This unfortunately is a trend across all 19 markets being operated. Booking activity from the local home Maltese market had not previously kicked in and currently shows no sign of doing so”.
Air Malta said that bookings for travel during the month of August have not seen the same degree of initial cancellations, with just over 3,000 seats having been cancelled so far. However, the airline is still concerned as booking growth has stagnated with no growth being experienced.” The airline said that it has also experienced an increase of passenger no shows at airports.
“No shows have exponentially increased and are now running daily between 30-35% for inbound travel to Malta.” Air Malta said that it “will honour ticket fares and conditions as per the normal process. Safety is Air Malta’s top priority and the airline will continue to work with the authorities to facilitate travel for its customers while following all health directives issued by the authorities.”
Malta’s high daily number of new cases resulted in the country ending up on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) red list. This could also be part of the reason cancellations are being made.