Ryanair Holdings has today announced the launch of a new subsidiary, called Malta Air. It is a joint-venture agreement with the Maltese Government, which sees the new airline start operations in its own branding in Summer 2020.
Ryanair will initially transfer its six Malta-based aircraft to the new carrier with a Maltese registration. The Irish company says the fleet of Malta Air will expand to ten aircraft over the next three years. The airline will take over Ryanair’s existing 62 routes to and from Malta.
A Maltese registration will enable Ryanair to serve destinations outside of Europe with Malta Air. Ryanair Holdings CEO Michael O’Leary has already stated that the new carrier is exploring the possibility of adding routes to North African countries.
The Goverment of Malta holds a ‘golden share’ in the airline, enabling it to veto on important decisions. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Malta Air will not have an impact on existing flag-carrier Air Malta, as the two airlines offer ‘different but complementary services’. This raises questions over a possible monopoly position of both airlines.
Ryanair Holdings’ current lineup of airlines consists of low-cost giant Ryanair, Ryanair UK, Ryanair Sun (rebranding to Buzz) and Laudamotion.
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Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.