Giving its updated mid-year forecast, Malta International Airport was experiencing record passenger numbers month after month and successfully increasing traffic in the non-peak months. MIA is expecting to host at least 4.5 million passengers by the end of the year, an increase of more than 200,000 over 2014. This is equivalent to over 1,100 Boeing 737 aircraft at full capacity.
CEO Alan Borg said, “The really good news is that in just 10 years, traffic to Malta has gone up by almost 70 per cent, with the increase being spread evenly throughout the year and not just in the peak months. We’re confident we can keep increasing our traffic and help to sell Malta as a year-round destination.”
Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis welcomed the results and said the overall prospects for the tourism sector remained very positive, with a record year expected on all fronts.
The Minister noted that efforts were being directed to further diversify Malta’s source markets and extend the tourism season through improved accessibility and the expansion of the island’s product and event offering to cover the full calendar year.
The latest passenger traffic figures for June show an increase of 8.2 per cent compared to last year. Meanwhile, traffic between January and June increased by 6.9 per cent over 2014.
The increase in traffic was in part a result of seat capacity rising by 4.9 per cent this June compared to the same month last year. Similarly, the average seat capacity from January to June was up 3.7 per cent compared to the same period of 2014.
Besides a larger number of seats available, airlines flying to and from Malta also managed to fill their aircraft more consistently, with seat load factor hitting 81.3 per cent in June compared to 78.8 per cent last year. For the period January to June, seat load factor hit an average of 77.9 per cent compared to 75.6 per cent registered in the first six months of last year.
Malta’s top market remains the UK, with 580,107 passenger movements in the first six months of 2015, followed by Italy (396,427) and Germany (274,954).
After registering such remarkable growth in these markets, MIA’s strategy is to continue to focus on the more untapped regions around Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, including Russia. Strategic objectives also include recovering traffic from Spain and exploring opportunities for connectivity to Portugal, said Mr Borg.
For the first time, Scandinavian Airlines and Vueling will extend their operation into winter whilst Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Ryanair and Wizzair will be increasing their weekly flights.
In 2015, MIA invested €2 million in the expansion of the non-Schengen area, €950,000 in runway, apron and taxiway improvements and another €970,000 in high voltage network re-organization and back-up standby power generators.