Passenger numbers in and out of Malta “might well” recover to pre-COVID levels a year earlier than was previously expected, in Q2 of 2023, Air Malta executive chairman David Curmi has predicted.
He made this prediction after considering the “encouraging” recovery rate being experienced in most European markets which, with the exception of Italy, is better than was originally predicted.
“Provided travel restrictions and unilateral measures imposed by national governments continue to ease, it is becoming increasingly likely that the recovery might well take place a year earlier i.e. in the second half of 2023,” he explained on social media.
Additionally, the recovery rate in Malta’s key tourism markets, like the UK where travel is expected to recover by 46 per cent per annum between 2020 and 2024, is projected to be disproportionately high compared to other markets, Mr Curmi said.
Indeed, the UK market, which was particularly badly impacted during the pandemic, finally retook its spot as Malta’s largest market in August, with nearly a quarter of all passengers travelling through the airport coming from the country.
This is predicted to have a positive impact on the overall economy, and the CEO commented that a 10 per cent increase in air connectivity will result in a 0.5 per cent increase in Malta’s GDP.
2020 is said to have been the “Worst Aviation Year” on record, as passenge numbers declined by their largest number since records began over 60 years ago.
This hit Malta especially badly, and the country lost over 50 direct routes in 2020, including what Malta Central Bank has described as “important hubs.”
It seems however, that at least in the case of Mr Curmi and the national airline, the situation is recovering.
According to an accouncement last week, Air Malta will resume its services to London Gatwick, Madrid and Moscow airpots in summer of 2022, as it expects to effectively double its capacity.
The executive chairman’s accelerated recovery timeline is especially exciting considering that only last month the Central Bank of Malta downgraded its outlook for tourism, and Air Malta described the summer as disappointing.
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