The number of fast ferry trips operated between Valletta, Malta and Mgarr, Gozo, dropped by 43.8 per cent during the first quarter of 2023, when compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. However, this was coupled with an eight per cent increase in passengers.
Figures made available by the National Statistics Office reveal that, during the first three months of the year, only 854 trips were carried out by the fast ferry service, carrying a total of 72,619 passengers. March was the busiest month of the quarter, with more than half of all trips and passengers carried that month.
The spike in activity during March may in part be due to the fast ferry service benefiting from an extended schedule, which was introduced following sustained pressure from the Gozitan public and business community. Furthermore, the fast ferry terminal in Valletta was severely damaged in February as a result of Storm Helios, temporarily suspending operations.
Meanwhile, the ferry service carried through the Gozo Channel between Ċirkewwa, Malta and Mgarr, Gozo saw 1.18 million passengers transport between the island, an increase of over 22.8 per cent compared to the corresponding quarter in 2022. March was the busiest month, with 447,873 passengers ferried across the islands.
The number of vehicles ferried between the two islands also increased by 8.2 per cent during the first quarter of the year.
Despite the spike in passengers, trips only increased by 0.1 per cent during Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2022.
Overall, this demonstrates a strong post-pandemic recovery for the ferry service carried out on the Gozo Channel, with the number of trips surpassing both 2019 Q1 and 2020 Q2 levels of activity.
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