David Curmi, Executive Chairman of Air Malta, took to social media to share the results of several internal studies conducted at the national airline about the projections of passenger movements to and from Malta.
Perhaps the most noteworthy conclusions are that pre-COVID passenger movements are likely to be achieved by 2024 and that the country’s GDP is expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.
Mr Curmi highlighted that the former conclusion is based on four main factors: potential ongoing travel restrictions and unilateral measures, reduction in available disposable income for leisure travel, a late recovery in business travel, and operational complexities in re-deploying aircraft capacity.
“Some of the key European markets for Malta were expected to recover at a fast rate, which will benefit the Maltese economy and the tourism sector,” Mr Curmi highlighted.
“For example, air travel demand from the United Kingdom was expected to grow at a rate of 46 per cent per annum between 2020 and 2024, which is 11 percentage points higher than the average recovery rate of 35 per cent for all other markets,” he continued.
The Chairman noted that this proves favourable for Malta as the UK is “one of the largest source and destination markets for Malta.”
Only last week, Air Malta announced its intention to resume flights between Malta and London Gatwick and several other airports throughout summer 2022.
During that period, Air Malta plans on operating over 250 flights per week to 20 destinations; 15 of the weekly flights will take passengers to London Heathrow.
Mr Curmi also noted that due to the Maltese economy’s reliance on air connectivity, a ten per cent increase in that area would result in a 0.5 per cent increase in the country’s GDP.
“It is encouraging to note that as we enter the last quarter of 2021, the recovery rate being experienced in most European markets, with the exception of Italy, is actually better than was originally predicted,” Mr Curmi wrote.
“Provided travel restrictions and unilateral measures imposed by national governments continue to ease, it is becoming increasingly likely that the recovery might well take place a year earlier, that is, in the second half of 2023,” he concluded.
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