Minister Clyde Caruana said on Monday night in Parliament while delivering the 2023 Budget announcement that for the European Commission, “there are no sacred cows”.
He was speaking about what the future may hold for the ailing national airline, whose existence is being called into question due to the unsustainability of its operations.
The Minister said had Government done nothing, referring to extensive restructuring programmes, the airline would have folded overnight, and this would have happened in the not so distance future.
“We will not be getting any form of special treatment, when countries and airlines far larger than ours did not.”
He added that the European Commission is currently “evaluations its options”, stressing that Malta will continue to have a national airline.
Between January and August 2022, Malta saw 81 per cent of the volume of tourists it saw over the same period in 2019. Tourists generated €10.76 million bed nights spent on the island with a spend of €1.3 billion, amounting to 86 per cent of tourist expenditure in 2019.
Government is estimating that by the end of 2022, around 2.1 million tourists would have visited the island.
Long-stay incentives for Gozo
The market for tourists who spend the winter months in Gozo is growing, Minister Caruana said on said. He said the Government wishes to strengthen this market.
Together with the Gozo Tourism Association, Malta will launch an incentive to attract this kind of tourism to Gozo together with tour operators, boosting the sister island during the low season.
Ship and aircraft registration
To date, over 750 aircraft are registered in Malta. In the coming days, Government will reveal that more international airlines will be relocating their operations to Malta, like WizzAir and Flexjet did earlier this year.
The next step is a policy for civil aviation, as well as a masterplan for the airport so that Malta can introduce niches that are relatively new, such as leasing, cargo, drones and eVTOLs while consolidating commercial aviation.
The Minister said Government wants to see the ship and aircraft registration market grow.
The airline also plans to introduce daily flights between Rome Fiumicino and Malta by June
The appeal process delayed the project by 122 days
Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats