Last Updated on Thursday, 30 March, 2023 at 5:51 pm by Andre Camilleri
Emirates is celebrating 25 years since the start of flight operations from Dubai to Malta. Since the first flight on 30 March 1998, close to 1.1 million passengers have travelled on this route via more than 12,700 flights, with Dubai being the furthest east-bound route from Malta as well as one of the few routes outside of Europe.
The anniversary was marked by a media event which was addressed by Thierry Aucoc – Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations for Europe and the Russian Federation, Malta’s Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Hon. Aaron Farrugia, Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Hon. Clayton Bartolo, the CEO of Malta International Airport Alan Borg, and the Director General of Civil Aviation Captain Charles Pace. The speakers were welcomed by the Country Manager for Emirates in Malta, Paul Fleri Soler.
Mr Aucoc said that when Emirates launched its first flights to Malta, it had just over 40 destinations in its network: “Today, we are proudly connecting Maltese travellers to more than 130 destinations across six continents, including more than 30 points in Asia and 20 points in the Americas. We also serve travellers with additional connectivity beyond our own network through our interline and codeshare agreements with 27 air carriers, including the national carrier, Air Malta.”
He added that Malta is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the global network of Emirates, and the 25th anniversary reinforces the airline’s commitment to the development and growth of its travel and tourism sector.
Mr Aucoc said that Emirates employs more than 60 Maltese nationals in a variety of roles across the Group, including cabin crew, flight deck crew and its own local office. He added that the bilateral ties between the UAE and Malta are solid and deep-rooted in their mutual desire to enhance their cooperation in all areas of development.
“Evidently, our contribution to the local economy is not limited to the air connectivity for passengers, but also air transportation of cargo. Emirates SkyCargo provides vital trade links to and from Malta, shipping essential commodities such as food and medical supplies as well as facilitating the shipment of imports and exports. Emirates SkyCargo is a significant contributor to the market as one of the top two air cargo providers in Malta,” Mr Aucoc said.
Maltese travellers flying on Emirates benefit from the award-winning products and world-class services, including operating modern, wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft on flights from and to the country, which also happens to be the largest scheduled passenger aircraft to serve Malta. Emirates offers travellers eight First Class suites, 42 lie-flat seats in Business and 310 seats in Economy. Not only that, but Emirates is the only air carrier to offer the First Class product in the market. Over 27,000 Emirates Skywards members are officially registered in Malta, further expanding the offerings of the airlines award-winning loyalty programme.
When addressing this event, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia said: “As Minister responsible for aviation, I am very aware of our country’s dependency on this sector. Aviation contributes to no less than €600 million towards our economy and carries millions of passengers annually. Such partnerships are crucial to sustaining this sector. Today, as we look towards the future, let us recommit ourselves to this partnership; let us work to ensure that the next 25 years are even more successful and fulfilling than the last.”
The media event was addressed also by Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo, who said: “Air connectivity is crucial for an island-state like Malta. For the past 25 years, Emirates have been sterling partners in sustaining Malta’s growth in the tourism world. Our aim is to continue adjusting our tourism product with today’s realities by ensuring a higher seatload factor in each aircraft that is travelling from and to the Malta International Airport. This is a win-win situation both for the sustainability of inbound tourism and the environment in general. With this frame of mind, we are looking forward for more cooperation with such a worldwide reputable airline for the months and years to come.”
When welcoming the speakers, Country Manager for Emirates in Malta, Paul Fleri Soler said that he was extremely proud to have started his journey with Emirates from the very first day that the airline stated flying to Malta.
“I would like to thank my colleagues, past and present in Malta, Dubai, Cyprus and other countries, as well as our business partners for their contributions over the past years. Today, we celebrate more than two decades of valuable partnerships and great success, highlighting the importance of Malta in our global network and our contributions to its travel and tourism sector,” Mr Fleri Soler said.