Second half of 2021 ‘seems promising’
Malta International Airport (MIA) recorded just 1.7 million visitor movements over the course of 2020, down 76.1% of the total seen in 2019, but there seems to be some encouraging factors for the second half of 2021, an MIA representative said.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on air travel and MIA chairman Nikolaus Gretzmacher said that this was “one of the worst global crises in recent history.” He said that the fast vaccination programme in Malta does seem to be encouraging. “This is the very start of MIA’s recovery, and we want to continue with this positive pace,” he remarked.
“We are extremely pleased and want to congratulate everybody in the government for managing to roll-out the vaccines at this speed, which clearly puts us in pole position to start our recovery process,” CEO Alan Borg said.
The CEO remarked that MIA is ready and gearing up for any changes and the revival of the economy. “Agility is the name of the game. We remain extremely vigilant of the situation, with an aim to take timely measures as the need arises,” he said.
MIA’s total revenue generated fell to around €32 million after a €70 million drop was seen. The share price dropped by 9%, MIA officials said.
The CEO also said that it had reduced certain costs and expenditures, where marketing costs dropped by 30.1%, utilities by 35%, repairs and maintenance by 36.3%, third party expenses by 26.1% and miscellaneous operating expenses by 47.4%.
Capital expenditure also decreased, thanks to the aid provide by the government support schemes and MIA’s staff. The number of employees, which stood at 386 in January 2020, went down to 340 by December.
The country also has a number of airlines operating, as well as fewer hurdles due to the positive state the country is in right now in terms of vaccinations, MIA officials pointed out. Twenty airlines have so far planned to operate 90 routes to and from Malta in the coming summer.
The vaccine certificates which have been proposed by Malta and the EU should also generate certain confidence with travellers. “The vaccination passport programme, if this is rolled out in time, fills us with hope that it should make it easier for passengers to travel freely within Europe but also outside of Europe,” Borg said.
Despite the challenges, MIA said it did not push environmental issues to the side. It also continued to complete certain projects, such as the completion of a car park called ParkEast, which holds 1,300 vehicles. The first phase of a 1,270 square metres of warehousing space was also created. Other projects are ongoing.