MLA pax numbers keep growing as seating capacity expands

Aerial photo of the Malta International Airport. (source MLA media))

Last Updated on Monday, 12 August, 2019 at 10:35 am by Christian Keszthelyi

Passenger movements through the Malta International Airport (MLA) grew by 5.6% to 798,453 in July, as compared to the same month a year earlier. This translates to an average of 25,700 passengers travelling through the hub every day. The airport has also recently opened a new seating area, improving seating capacity by 10%.

The Malta airport tagged July’s growth as “unprecedented”, as the average daily number of passengers travelling through the hub surpasses the number of people inhabiting Malta’s most populous town; St Paul’s Bay, press statement sent to Business Malta says.

The growth was also matched by aircraft movements increasing by 4.5% to total more than 5,000 take-offs and landings throughout the month, as compared to the same month a year earlier.

Seat capacity was up by 5.6% and the seat load factor (SLF) stood at 87.0% — the metric indicating how much of the carrying capacity of airlines operating to and from Malta airport was used.

All five top markets boosting July’s traffic performed better than a year ago. The United Kingdom saw an increase of 3.9%, Italy by 1.5%, Germany by 18.2%, France by 6.8% and Spain by 10%.

The spur in figures was partly supported by an improved schedule for the summer months, which introduced several new routes including Cardiff, Exeter, Genoa, Verona, Lamezia and Perugia, the MLA says. Other developments include the extension of the Leipzig, Berlin and Hamburg routes into the summer months, and increased capacity on several routes such as Rome Fiumicino, Lyon, Madrid, Valencia and Bilbao. Moreover, the airport’s Cruise and Fly programme was a contributing factor to the solid performance recorded by both the United Kingdom and Germany.

Seating area expands 10%

Having just opened a new seating area at departure previously occupied by a retail outlet, seating capacity of the airport has improved by 10%, prior to August’s “holiday rush”, according to another press statement sent to BM.

The recently-added seating area that increases seating capacity by 10%. (source: Malta International Airport media)

The new waiting area incorporates Maltese textures mainly through the use of limestone, which approach could likely be adopted in other parts of the terminal, MLA expects, to create a “better sense of place for the millions of tourists who pass through” the hub every day. Indeed, tourist numbers soared above 2.6 million in 2018, and expectations are high that the figure will further improve this year.

The new area has introduced two seating options catering to the needs of both travellers looking to lounge away their waiting time until departure and passengers looking to make the most of their wait by getting some work done, MLA says in the press statement. The business bars have been equipped with charging points to help business travellers quickly catch up with their daily duties prior to taking off.

The new seating area comes as but one addition to Malta Airport’s expanding infrastructure. In the following year, MLA expects to add further improvements, such as more retail space being freed up to allow for better passenger circulation and the introduction of additional seating.

Malta International Airport has also been working on finalising plans for a terminal expansion, which will see the building occupy a much larger footprint and offer better facilities as well as extended operational areas.

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