04 January 2006

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Business Today

Air Malta taps Italian domestic market

Air Malta will be entering into the Italian domestic market with Reggio di Calabria to Rome flights operated daily between Mondays and Fridays as from this summer.
These flights will commence with the summer 2006 schedule and follow the successful operation of a programme of flights between Malta and Reggio started last summer. The flights were launched during a press conference held in the Reggio town hall and addressed by Dott Giuseppe Scopelliti, the Mayor of Reggio and Dominic Attard, Air Malta’s Chief Officer Strategic Planning.
Air Malta hails these services as another milestone for the airline which is exploiting the freedoms acquired as a result of Malta’s European Union membership. “We are increasing our activities in the intra-European market because we believe that there are opportunities which make sense to us and because we have the courage to compete,” commented Dominic Attard. “Domestic operations have their own characteristics which are different to international operations. We have been studying this route for months to ensure that we can make a success out of it. We are convinced that it will add up to our intra-EU services”.
In May 2004, Air Malta had successfully launched its first intra-European services between Catania and London Gatwick and is now planning to expand this operation.
As with all other EU registered airlines wishing to fly within EU countries, no special permits or concessions are required by Air Malta to operate this latest addition to its network. Intra-EU routes are freely open to EU airlines and there is no need to have agreements or permits in place.
“In Malta there seems to be confusion on this aspect as some EU registered airlines seem to give the impression that they require an agreement with the authorities. This is the wrong impression. Everyone is free to fly. The reality is that some of these airlines want subsidies and discounts to fly to Malta and this is exactly what is not right” continued Attard.
The Reggio-Rome flights will operate daily between Monday and Friday departing Reggio for Rome Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) at 8.30am and from Rome to Reggio at 6.30pm. Since the flights will be operated in conjunction with the current Air Malta schedule to Rome, the latter will be retimed to accommodate these flights. Air Malta will retain the traditional direct flight (Monday to Friday) between Rome and Malta departing Rome at 12.00pm and will retime the Malta to Rome flight to 4pm. The new schedule will mean that between Monday and Friday passengers will also have the opportunity to leave Malta for Rome in the morning flying via Reggio and returning to Malta in the evening again via Reggio. This in addition to the direct services Rome-Malta-Rome defined above. Therefore another unique opportunity will be for people in both Malta and Italy to fly out and be back on the same day. Over the weekends Air Malta will be retaining the current Malta-Rome-Malta schedule.
Concluding, Attard said “The Reggio-Rome flights are an extension of Air Malta’s daily service to Rome and the airline is not reducing any seat capacity from its Malta base. We remain committed to the Maltese community. However we need to grow our business beyond our shores and are doing so in line with our strategic vision for our airline. These developments will increase the possibilities for connectivity, continue to provide options to the travelling public and ensure that we are supporting tourism to our country.”
On his part Dott Giuseppe Scopelliti, Mayor of Reggio Calabria said “I am pleased that the work carried out by my administration to strengthen the air connections from this city over the last few months, have given brilliant results. Thanks to the cooperation with Air Malta, as from the 27 March 2006, the people of Reggio will be able to make use of a daily flight connection both to Rome and to Malta.”
The Mayor continued “These flights not only open up an important tourist and business link between Reggio and Malta, but strengthen the existing ties between two peoples that are located in the heart of the Mediterranean and who share a similar glorious past. This agreement today also opens up a range of new possibilities for the future development of Reggio. I must take this opportunity to thank Air Malta for having taken the decision to open up these two routes. It is a clear sign of confidence in the Administration of Reggio,” concluded Dott Scopelliti.

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