Malta International Airport (MIA) has released its flight schedule for winter of this year, featuring flights to 33 countries – including newcomers in the form of previously unserved markets including Croatia, North Macedonia, and the United Arab Emirates.
It marks a significant expansion of countries served, as the airport’s summer schedule served 28, and comes as the airport reported the strongest passenger numbers since the start of the pandemic in September – 418,473.
Also notable in the month is that, for the first time since 1999, September traffic outpaced August, indicating what stakeholders in the aviation and tourist industries will hope is a continued return of tourism and international travel.
The new routes will see Ryanair serve Croatia via Zagreb twice weekly from 4th December, Wizz Air serve North Macedonia via Skopje from 13th December, and Emirates serve the United Arab Emirates via Dubai from 31st October.
The summer schedule also reflects predicted changes in passenger behaviour, as the summer holiday season in some of Malta’s largest markets draws to a close.
For the UK for example, which contributed the largest number of tourists through the airport in September for the second month in a row, a number of routes from the summer schedule no longer appear on the winter schedule, including those serving Newcastle, Glasgow and Leeds.
The full flight schedule can be found on the airports website.
Despite the positive indicators regarding passenger numbers though, figures provided by the airport show that in September passenger traffic was still barely above half its pre-COVID levels.
Seat occupancy levels also remained below pre-pandemic levels, as airlines carried passengers to and from the airport at an average seat load factor of just 70 per cent.
Over 108,000 of the total 418,473 passengers passing through MIA were from the UK, in a sign which, considering the further easing of travel restrictions by the country’s Government this month, the airport says augurs well for the coming months.
Following behind on the market leader board for September were the Italian, German, French, and Spanish markets.
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Public transport capacity has also been increased