Last Updated on Thursday, 28 July, 2022 at 3:01 pm by Andre Camilleri
2.34 million people passed through the Malta International Airport in the first half of this year, which was almost equal to a full year of passenger traffic in 2021, Airport CEO Alan Borg said during a press conference on Thursday.
He added that although the recovery was below European levels for Malta for the first two months of the year, the gap started to narrow as from March of 2022.
Some of Malta’s top markets, including Poland, France, Hungary, have all exceeded their pre-pandemic 2019 figures, whilst the UK and Germany as destinations are recovering at a slower rate.
Amongst all EU countries, France remains the only country for this summer to still require proof of vaccination, recovery or a Covid-19 vaccination.
Delving further into the round up for June, France as a destination was the country with the highest percentage change in terms of passenger numbers when compared to 2019 levels.
Top Airlines for the same month were Ryanair and Air Malta, with the former exceeding pre-2019 levels by 2% in terms of passenger numbers. On the other hand Air Malta was under for the same period, 27% lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Additionally, when it comes to passenger numbers, although London was a popular destination for the same month, it registered a decrease of 12% when compared to 2019, whilst Munich although with less passengers, saw an increase of 8% when compared to 2019.
When it comes to airport connectivity when compared to 2019, Malta placed last with a decrease of 34%. Borg explained that it is unfair to compare Malta in these circumstances since most of the countries mentioned in the study, like Portugal and Spain, have options for inner transportation, something which was advantageous during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CEO explained that although on the agenda for this summer there are over 15 airlines, these are bound to change, the same applied for the coming winter.
Full year passenger traffic for 2022 is expected to reach 5.42 million. When compared, these numbers show a recovery of 74% of the total traffic for 2019. In comparison to last year, this comes as an increase of 113%.
The Malta international Airport has also invested a total of € 2 million in the completion of works of the food courts, which now offer a wider selection of food with a more pleasant aesthetic. New catering businesses have also been introduced such as Avotaco, Bahn MI, Dr Juice amongst others.
It is also investing in Skyparks two, where a 12 storey hotel will also be included.
Other investments include Apron X, which is an investment of €40 million in the development of circa 100,000 sqm of land, restoration and conservation of a painting done by Mattia Preti in 1676 and an underwater wreck documentary.
Speaking about current challenges faced by the airport, Borg explained that despite the strong recovery, the airlines and airport operators will continue to navigate a more challenging landscape which include industrial actions, staff shortages.
He added that these challenges could also cause a blow to consumer confidence, which he highlighted is still recovering from the negative impact because of the pandemic.
In conclusion, Borg assured that MIA is fully committed to making sure that numbers are slowly brought back to pre-pandemic levels.
Present for the press conference and agreeing with Borg, Malta Tourism Authority CEO Carlo Micallef said that considering the strong demand there is for trips to Malta “it gives us hope as we look ahead, however there are various factors which influence this”.