Speech delivered by Air Malta's Chairman, Dr. Charles Mangion, at the opening of AMITEX 2019

Honourable Minister, Directors, Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome

I am honoured to be here today at the opening of AMITEX, the yearly travel fair organised by the MFCC.  This is a great opportunity for Air Malta to launch its summer schedule and showcase its new products and services.

Air Malta is proud to have been the initiator of AMITEX which it organised for the first time in 1994. Now in its 26th edition, AMITEX still offers a great opportunity for Maltese travellers to discover travel opportunities and plan summer vacations. This fair is an ideal platform where our partners - travel agents - can meet, discuss and sell travel related products to the general public.

At AMITEX we are launching our summer schedule that will start at end of this month. This summer we are proposing an interesting selection of 40 scheduled destinations with over 180 return weekly flights. We are increasing frequencies to Paris Charles De Gaulle, Hamburg, Kiev, London Heathrow, Lyon, Munich, Tunis, and after an absence of 12 years we will be resuming our operations to Egypt’s capital, Cairo. For the first time the airline will also offer scheduled services to/from Warsaw. Overall, we are aiming to carry over 1.46 million passengers during the summer season. These increases signify the Airline’s continuous commitment to the local tourism industry and the support the Airline gives to the Islands’ economic growth.

This Saturday we will be announcing our financial results for the year ended March 2018. These results will show a positive trend and improvement after many years. However, let me be frank; we are still not out of the woods. Everyone within the Company has to remain focused to steer the Airline on a path of sustainable growth and profitability.

The Airline operates in a highly competitive industry. During the past year and a half, we have worked hard to open new routes, and increase the number of aircraft. We launched 21 new routes including some Intra European services. An absolute majority of the routes, which were introduced last Summer, were extended to winter and are again included this summer.  

However, we are not focusing only on increasing routes and passenger figures. We are also working hard to improve our customer focus.

To do this, we have launched a new pricing structure within the Economy class, giving the customers the ability to build their personal travel experience. We have improved our economy class on-board menu choice. A comprehensive business class service that includes a new gourmet menu will be available on our flights as from next month. This service is all about attention to detail and pays homage to our heritage through the use of traditional design and Maltese themed ceramic crockery.

Customer centricity is becoming an integral part of our operations at all levels.

A great travel experience needs to be backed up by a solid IT infrastructure that facilitates operations and on time performance. In this regard we are investing heavily in IT, improving our scheduling, rostering and our passenger experience through our new Integrated Operations Centre that will be fully operational in the coming weeks. This center will house five core operational departments and a number of support units that will control the over 18,000 flights that the Airline operates every year.

We implemented Salesforce as our Customer Relationship Management platform and are using this system to integrate with our legacy reservations tool, Sabre. Another key achievement of our investment in IT was the integration of our reservations system with Ryanair so that 21 Air Malta routes can be sold on their website. To continue improving on our operational reliability we have invested in the state-of-the-art Lufthansa Systems’ Lido flight planning application and Net Line Ops ++. These systems have been deployed in a record of six-month timeframe and form part of the €4 million IT investment which we have budgeted for the next 3 years.

To continue improving on our customer experience this summer we will welcome two new Airbus A320NEOs to our fleet that will offer added comfort to our customers. Air Malta has outlined a five-year fleet plan during which all existing aircraft will be replaced with brand new A320 NEOs.

Air Malta has increased its connectivity from Europe to North Africa and set our vision to be the ‘Airline of the Mediterranean’. The situation in Libya is also being closely monitored and plans to resume flight operations will be subject to safety and security assessments by competent bodies.

Travel is a growing industry, but it will remain very price sensitive whilst costs increase annually. It is imperative to be agile, adjust to change, implement innovation and restructure holistically. This involves also a change in mentality within the Company. We believe that conventional unit costs with Air Malta have the potential to become revenue units for the Company. Moreover, in order to counteract the price competitiveness of the travel ticket we need to enhance our ancillary sales and revenues, improve yield and at the same time strengthen and improve cost management processes.

Next month the National Carrier will enter its 45th year of operation. Air Malta was instrumental in the development of the Maltese Tourism Industry and has always been at the forefront in promoting travel among the Maltese and Gozitans. This is a historical moment for The National Carrier and a journey which was not short of success thanks to the commitment and loyalty of past and present employees.

Together with our CEO and the Board of Directors under the direction of the Minister of Tourism, we shall be transforming Air Malta into an air connecting carrier and enhance the current route network.

I wish to take the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister and Minister Mizzi for their continuous support, my board of directors and management together with all our employees who have embraced our growth strategy and are working tirelessly to ensure a successful future for the Airline.

I also wish to thank all travel agents for your continuous support and effort and we look forward to continue working hard together to achieve greater results in the coming future. Last but not least we thank our loyal customers who continue to support Air Malta and without whose loyalty and support we would not be here today.

Thank you MFCC for organising this fair and to all exhibitors for their participation. I wish them every success in this edition of AMITEX.

 

Thank you

Dr Charles Mangion

Chairman Air Malta plc

 



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