Malta International Airport (MIA) CEO Alan Borg urged the Maltese government to shift its focus to publishing a post-COVID strategy.
This, Mr Borg noted, would give the industry confidence to invest in businesses, thus contributing to an enhanced tourism offering and increasing the island’s competitive edge.
The CEO noted that by aligning Malta’s entry requirements to EU regulations, the government would be instilling confidence in travellers to book their next trip.
Data published by MIA showed that 2,540,335 passengers travelled through the country’s airport in 2021 – a 45.3 per cent increase over 2020 figures.
Despite the improvement, said numbers are just 34.8 per cent of 2019’s passenger numbers.
“The instant impact that the introduction of tighter restrictions towards the end of the year had on air travel once again highlighted that our industry’s recovery remains at the mercy of how governments respond to the changing epidemiological situation,” Mr Borg said.
“The introduction of stricter and uneven entry requirements across Europe at the end of 2021 has already led to the cancellation of around 850 flights for the first quarter of 2022,” the CEO continued.
In light of said situation, Mr Borg predicts that summer 2022 is expected to be characterised by fiercer competition amongst similar destinations, particularly as vaccination uptake across Europe continues to increase.
Data released by Airports Council International shows that, at 33.5 per cent, Malta’s recovery for the period between January and November 2021 still lagged behind that of Southern European peers such as Greece (52.5 per cent), Cyprus (44.3 per cent), Spain (41.7 per cent), and Portugal (40.3 per cent).
These numbers came to be despite MIA managing to retain more than 70 per cent of its connections for 2019.
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