June 11, 2019 / 10:07 AM / 6 months ago

Malta in advanced talks with Ryanair to set up Maltese airline

VALLETTA, June 11 (Reuters) - Malta is in advanced talks with low-cost airline Ryanair about setting up a Malta-based subsidiary to help develop tourism on the island, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said.

The new airline, set to be called Malta Air, will include a ‘golden share’, a mechanism which usually means a government’s consent is required for disposals, share issues or takeovers.

“The setting up of Malta Air will go a long way for the better sustainability of the tourism industry as well as maintaining its growth momentum,” Mizzi said on Facebook on Monday after media reports of a possible deal.

The new company will not impact state-owned Air Malta since the two airlines will offer different but complimentary services, Mizzi added.

The new airline will initially have six aircraft and will operate the 61 routes which Ryanair flies from Malta. The number of aircraft will increase to 10 within three years. All will be registered on the Maltese aviation register.

The airline will also set up hangar facilities for repair and maintenance operations in Malta. (Reporting by Chris Scicluna; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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