Malta Airport to waive landing fees this winter
Following last year’s initiative of giving a 100% refund to all scheduled airlines on all their landing fees last winter, Malta International Airport plc will once again waive landing fees for the coming winter season with the aim of further stimulating traffic during the shoulder/winter months.
This initiative forms part of Malta Airport’s Incentive Programme for airlines, which has just been updated. The first Airline Incentive Scheme, launched back in 2007, was aimed at attracting airlines interested in starting off their operations to Malta or looking at increasing their presence on the Maltese Islands. The scheme targeted markets which back then were considered strategic, like the Iberian peninsula, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
The updated programme includes these strategic objectives together with new incentives such as the waiving of the night surcharge all year round as well as free aircraft parking for scheduled passenger flights which is also valid all year round. All these initiatives help to alleviate the airlines’ fixed costs when flying to and from Malta Airport. Another initiative included in the Incentive Programme is that aimed at increasing non-EU traffic.
Commenting on the decision to continue investing heavily in these initiatives for airlines, Malta Airport CEO Markus Klaushofer insisted that the airport has always been at the forefront in ensuring that Malta is attractive for airlines to operate from.
“Together with the other stakeholders in the local tourism and travel industry, we are committed to giving our share in ensuring our support to an industry which is as volatile as it is crucial for these islands. This Incentive Programme is an investment by the company to continue supporting the local tourism industry and the Maltese economy in general,” concluded Mr Klaushofer.
In response to this statement, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) welcomed the news, saying that "it is certainly a step in the right direction which should encourage all parties to see how each can also contribute further to make Malta more competitive during the winter period, especially since the market continues to become ever more price sensitive".
The MHRA said that the winter period is a very tough period for all stakeholders in the tourism industry in Malta and a collective effort to stimulate more business can make a positive difference. It is traditional that hotels reduce their prices to rock bottom levels throughout most of the loss-making winter months in an effort to generate more business, as this helps them remain open. Airlines generally do the same and so do a number of other services providers of the industry, the Association said.
The MHRA said that over the years, it has encouraged Government to do the same by applying discounted rates on state charges, such as utility rates or similar, or by way of introducing incentives that can ultimately help hotels and restaurants become more competitive and stay open throughout the winter months. Such incentives have widespread benefits and would enhance employment levels. The MHRA encouraged Government to find ways of supporting hotels and restaurants throughout the winter months.
The waiving of landing fees was also commended by the Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) as an important initiative to enhance the competitiveness of the Maltese islands as a tourism destination during the winter period and shoulder months.
The GTA appealed to other transport providers to follow in the footsteps of the Malta International Airport (MIA) and come up with initiatives and schemes to increase and incentivise access to Gozo as this would play a major role in the success and sustainability of the tourism industry.
The GTA augurs that this positive initiative taken by the MIA will reap the desired results towards a more sustainable tourism industry.