Europe’s largest LCC, Ryanair, is holding talks with Air Malta over future areas of cooperation as the Irish airline steps up its involvement in the small Mediterranean island.
The two carriers did not specify the nature of the potential cooperation and calls to both airlines were not answered. Maltese media reports suggested that a codeshare partnership, or combined sales and marketing initiatives, are in the cards.
The news came as Ryanair announced a dozen new routes to Malta. Three services—Belfast, Naples and Riga—will start in October, while the others—Aberdeen, Barcelona, Bratislava, Gothenburg, Paris Beauvais, Porto, Pescara, Seville and Tallinn—will begin in the summer 2018 season. Ryanair estimates the new services will add some 700,000 passengers to the 1.8 million it already carries to Malta annually.
Ryanair will also base a fifth Boeing 737-800 on the island.
The Irish airline noted its increasing interest in connecting flights means that Malta-originating traffic could link up with 20 long-haul destinations operated by Spanish airline Air Europa via Madrid and that Maltese travelers could also connect on to Ryanair services at Rome Fiumicino and Milan Bergamo.
Malta’s tourism minister, Konrad Mizzi, described the announcements as a vote of confidence in the island’s tourism sector.