Last Updated on Friday, 1 April, 2022 at 12:32 pm by Andre Camilleri
‘It is imperative that no more time is wasted in acting upon this pledge’, MIA CEO
Prime Minister Robert Abela has agreed to leave it up to people to safeguard their wellbeing with regards to protocols. The Malta airport (MIA), The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA), and numerous hoteliers and restaurateurs have welcomed Robert Abela’s promise to lift all remaining Covid-19 measures. Despite this announcement, Malta has landed itself back at the top of EU countries of concern with increasing daily Covid-19 figures. On Wednesday 603 new daily cases were reported, as figures continue to rise.
Reacting to Abela’s comments while launching its summer schedule, the Malta International Airport said that its confidence in the upcoming season was augmented by the Prime Minister’s pledge that the government will be removing the remaining Covid-19 restrictions. Speaking to this newsroom, MIA CEO Alan Borg added, “The summer months are expected to be characterised by very stiff competition between similar destinations. The Prime Minister’s recent pledge to lift all remaining Covid-19 restrictions has strengthened our confidence that Malta will be the natural choice for many tourists seeking a Mediterranean destination for their summer holidays. What’s more, the summer season has already started for the aviation industry. It is imperative that no more time is wasted in acting upon this pledge for our industry to be able to enjoy a good summer after too many months of instability, uncertainty, and false starts to our recovery.”
The MIA has just unveiled a summer schedule featuring 99 routes in 34 countries. Over the weekend, the airport welcomed the first flight from Shannon, which will directly link Malta and Ireland’s west coast until October. This flight will be operated twice a week by Ryanair along with the carrier’s triweekly service to Dublin, which lies on the island’s east coast. Another new summer development from the low-cost carrier is the Bordeaux service, which will be one of the nine routes connecting the Maltese Islands to France. France will be MIA’s third most connected market this summer, following Italy, which 21 routes will serve, and the United Kingdom, which will be connected by 12 routes, including Bristol, which is a new development for the airline Jet2.
“Many partner airlines have already given Malta as a destination encouraging votes of confidence through the start of new services or the resumption of operations that had been interrupted by the outbreak of the pandemic, and the removal of travel restrictions would give consumer confidence a much-needed boost,” an MIA statement added.
In April, the airline Transavia France is set to make a comeback with its Paris Orly service after having cancelled its operations from Malta International Airport in March 2020. The month of April will also see Air Baltic reconnect the Maltese Islands with Latvia through a flight to the country’s capital Riga, and Air Malta will add a triweekly service to Madrid to its schedule. In addition, every Wednesday and Saturday between June and October, the Spanish airline Vueling will be operating flights to Bilbao, which hosts the sought-after Bilbao BBK Live festival.
The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) also welcomed Abela’s pledge.
MHRA President Tony Zahra said that this “is very much in line with what some of our competitor countries have already done and what we have already recommended Malta should do. Indeed, in the past two years, the hospitality industry did what it was asked to do by the Health Authorities, and thanks to collective efforts, Malta has managed to weather the Covid storm.”
“Our vaccinations and boosters have prevented the spread of infection. It is evident that the vaccine programme has transformed our situation. Therefore, the rationale for continuing the covid protocols and related restrictions is now no longer there,” he said.
Zahra reiterates that “MHRA members are now anxiously awaiting to see tourists returning and for Malta to start getting back to some normality. “We need to see the tourist areas across Malta and Gozo thriving again. However, to get there, we need to be competing on a level playing field with other tourism destinations, and restrictions to access must be removed immediately. It’s time to be ourselves again.”