Low-fare airline operator Ryanair Holdings agreed to purchase Maltese startup Malta Air and set up a base in the island nation, according to a press statement sent to Business Malta. Completion of the deal is planned for the end of June.
Ryanair hopes to expand its presence in Malta with the transaction and access non-European Union markets — such as North Africa — from Malta.
Following the transaction, Ryanair will switch six Malta-based aircraft — worth over $600m (€530m+) — to the Maltese register, move a crew of 200 under the Maltese jurisdiction on contract hence paying taxes in the island nation, create over 350 jobs and brand its Malta-based fleet with Malta Air livery as of the summer of 2020.
As a second step, Ryanair will also move aircraft from France, Italy and Germany onto the Malta AOC, hoping to raise the number of aircraft based in Malta to ten in the upcoming three years. Ryanair expects this to allow crews to pay their income taxes locally in France, Italy and Germany instead of Ireland where they are currently required to pay income taxes under Ryanair’s Irish AOC.
“Ryanair is pleased to welcome Malta Air to the Ryanair Group of airlines which now includes Buzz (Poland), Lauda (Austria), Malta Air, and Ryanair (Ireland),” said Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary today, speaking in Malta.
The CEO also praised the partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority, which “will help drive forward the vision of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi to grow year-round connections to all corners of Europe which will support increased tourism, business and jobs in Malta,” Mr O’Leary said.
“Ryanair appreciates the expertise of the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) in licencing Malta Air to operate the B737 aircraft and we look forward to working closely with the Maltese authorities over the coming years as we hope to add over 50 more aircraft to the Maltese register,” the Ryanair CEO added.
“The relationship between Ryanair and Malta has evolved into a successful collaboration. We welcome Ryanair’s commitment to operate and grow a fully fledged Malta-based airline which will contribute in a large way to the country’s development,” Malta’s Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi said.