Air Malta awarded the CAPA Turnaround Airline of the Year

Date:   Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Ref:     108 -2018 EN

Air Malta awarded the CAPA Turnaround Airline of the Year 

Air Malta has scooped the 2018 ‘Turnaround Airline of the Year’ at the prestigious CAPA World Aviation Outlook summit held in Berlin. The Maltese Airline was chosen amongst the world’s airlines for its ‘innovative strategic changes and/or a restructuring exercise’. CAPA's Aviation Awards for Excellence are regarded as the pre-eminent awards for strategic excellence in aviation.

This year’s winners in various categories include Qantas Group, WOW air, CityJet, LEVEL and Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air’s Chief Executive. Dr Charles Mangion, Air Malta’s Chairman, was presented with the award during the CAPA Aviation Awards ceremony.

Air Malta was selected for its successful transformation, from a heavy loss-making entity to a break-even result for the fiscal year ended March 2018.

In the statement announcing the winners CAPA said that Air Malta had been unprofitable for nearly 20 years as it struggled to overcome multiple challenges, including increasing competition from LCCs, outdated work practices and tensions in the North Africa market, which impacted its traditionally strongest routes. It added that the flag carrier had accumulated operating losses of more than USD300 million over the 10 years ended Mar-2017.

Air Malta has rebuilt its operations with a financially viable business model and a hybrid product that now allows it to compete with LCCs. The transformation included a cost control mind-set, increased aircraft utilisation, improved staff productivity and the move to a hybrid business model to serve today’s increasingly price-driven industry. After a period of consolidation, in 2018 the Airline increased significantly its routes, fleet and passengers to continue supporting the Maltese economy. Air Malta is planning further expansion in 2019, while renewing its current fleet with modern A320 neo aircraft and leveraging its new cost efficient hybrid model, while it supports the continued emergence of Malta as one of Europe’s fastest growing holiday destinations,” added CAPA.

Commenting upon receiving this award Dr Mangion said, “This is an honour for Air Malta and we are really proud of this achievement. This award reflects the difficult and hard work done to restructure the airline, the commitment to continue changing and the vision to grow Air Malta into the ‘Airline of the Mediterranean’. I dedicate this award to the management and all the staff for their unrelenting daily efforts to continue improving Air Malta.”

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi expressed that this prestigious award reflects how Air Malta as a national flag carrier, is moving towards the right direction.  It is quite positive that CAPA, a world known stakeholder in the aviation sector, is recognising the transformation that Air Malta went through.

"The next step would be a continuation of this vision and strategy that this Government is spearheading in establishing Air Malta as the Airline of the Mediterranean.  We are looking into several options aimed at expanding the airline's network, whilst creating new destinations and routes in Europe, Africa and the Middle-East", stressed the Minister.

“Air Malta is a classic example of the need to remain relevant in the airline sector,” CAPA Executive Chairman Peter Harbison said. “For a long time it had seemingly ignored the competition and accepted its own slow decline. But, with some brave decisions it has been reborn and is now profitably flying the flag for Malta. The higher fuel price and volatile currency rates are dark clouds, but Air Malta is now better positioned to weather these market forces.”


Photos: Daniel Balzan / CAPA.

Videos: Daniel Balzan.

All images –

Airline Turnaround of the year award -

Air Malta Chairman, Chief Executive and Joe Galea Interviews in Maltese -

About CAPA - Centre for Aviation:

CAPA - Centre for Aviation is one of the world’s most trusted sources of market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry. Our unrivalled reputation for independence and integrity means you get the whole story, with powerful data and in-depth insights on the news, issues and trends that are shaping our industry.

Since its establishment in 1990, CAPA has developed a formidable global network of aviation researchers and analysts located across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. We provide Members with access to more than 400 News Briefs each day, as well as Analysis Reports, Research Publications and a comprehensive Data Centre with extensive company profiles, MRO data, airline and airport databases, and more. And from our practice in New Delhi, we offer consulting and advisory services, customised research, and specialist data analytics solutions.

Our sought-after events are hosted in key markets throughout the year and attract the highest calibre of thought leaders and decision makers globally. With valuable networking opportunities and high-level agendas showcasing an incomparable level of expertise and strategic insight, you’ll stay informed and connected to industry leaders around the world.

In addition to our series of global summits, we also capture insights straight from the source on our CAPA TV channel and produce a bi-monthly journal, Airline Leader, that provides airline CEOs and senior executives with insights on the latest trends, challenges and changes facing the industry.

As a global leader in aviation knowledge, our aim is to make a difference by providing news, analysis and data that businesses need to stay ahead of the competition. We remain committed to providing CAPA Members with the highest standards of service, giving you an opportunity to connect with aviation and travel industry leaders around the world.

For media enquiries and to learn more, please contact:

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Head of Marketing

CAPA – Centre for Aviation

P: +61 2 9241 3200

About Air Malta

Air Malta is primarily a point-to-point airline transporting mainly leisure-based customers to the Maltese Islands.

The airline started operations as the national airline of Malta on the 1st April 1974 with 7 scheduled services across Europe and two wet-leased aircraft. The airline now operates a fleet of 10 Airbus A320/319 aircraft and flies to around 36 scheduled destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. From just 52,000 passengers carried in its first year, the airline now carries 1.8 million passengers yearly and over the course of its history transported over 55 million passengers safely to and from Malta.

Air Malta is now working to further enhance and increase connectivity services through Malta.

Over the last year the Maltese Airline embarked on a growth strategy and launched 21 new routes across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The airline also launched three 5th Freedom flights between Catania – Vienna, Catania – London Southend and Cagliari – London Southend.

The airline is aiming to further increase this connectivity by offering services from Europe to North and later Sub Saharan Africa through Malta. The commercial team is also looking at more opportunities to connect Mediterranean Islands with Malta to connect throughout Europe and develop direct services to the most popular destinations from Mediterranean islands (including Sicily and Sardignia). The airline today is developing a clear positioning as a regional Mediterranean Airline and embarked on a growth strategy to become the ‘Airline of the Mediterranean’.

This year, as part of a fleet replacement project, two new aircraft joined the fleet including a brand new 180 seater Airbus A320neo. This state-of-the-art aircraft fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly aircraft equipped with new generation engines will be the cornerstone of Air Malta’s fleet as the airline is replacing two other older models with this type of aircraft next year. This aircraft offers more cabin space and comfort to passengers thanks to a redesigned cabin and produces a 50% less noise footprint than the A320ceo. Two brand new Airbus A320neo have been ordered.

In addition to its own network, Air Malta offers an additional 150 destinations through code share agreements with a number of quality airlines. Approximately 80% of all passengers are incoming to Malta, with the majority of which for leisure purposes.

Air Malta also carries a sizeable amount of cargo each year ranging from valuables, perishable consignments including fresh fish/tuna to live animals, pharmaceuticals and microelectronics including special cargo consignments. The airline is also responsible for the carriage of mail to and from Malta and offers courier services including warehousing facilities.

As the islands’ national airline, Air Malta carries its responsibility to continue to support the local community. One main area where the airline is very active is in assisting Maltese and Gozitans in travelling abroad for treatment.

Air Malta is the only airline operating from Malta that carries both stretcher cases with patients that require urgent medical treatment abroad as well as incubators for new born babies. The national carrier is also regularly in contact with health authorities to carry medicines and other urgent medical material to and from Malta, sometimes even adjusting flight operations to accommodate this. Some of this material includes time-sensitive radioactive substances required for around 40 cancer patients every week. The material is transported three times a week on Air Malta’s Rome flight and arrangements have been made so that it is quickly transported to Mater Dei hospital where this treatment is administered.

For more information on Air Malta please visit

For media enquiries and to learn more, please contact:

Stephen Gauci

Head of Communications

Air Malta

P: +356 79709928


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