Europe’s largest low-cost airline says it will also increase its Malta-based fleet and move more than 50 aircraft to the Maltese register.
Ryanair has confirmed it has agreed to establish a Malta-based carrier to increase its presence on the island and access the North African market.
The budget carrier appears to be moving closer to a structure similar to that of Aer Lingus owner International Airlines Group (IAG), operating an increasing number of subsidiaries, media reports have speculated.
In Ryanair’s case, these now include Austria’s Laudamotion, Poland’s Ryanair Buzz and now Malta Air, a subsidiary which the Maltese government established and which the airline says it will now purchase. Europe’s largest low-cost airline aims to move six of its aircraft currently based in the country into Malta Air.
“Malta Air will proudly fly the Maltese name and flag as we look to grow our Maltese based fleet, routes, traffic and jobs over the next three years,” Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement.
Ryanair says it plans to increase its fleet on the island to ten planes within three years and rebrand them as Malta Air for the summer 2020 season.
More than 50 planes based in France, Italy and Germany will also be moved onto the Maltese register, allowing crews to pay income taxes locally instead of in Ireland where they are obliged to do so under current arrangements, Ryanair added.
Under the deal, the Irish carrier will also set up hangar facilities in Malta for repair and maintenance operations. Operations will not impact state-owned Air Malta, as the two airlines will offer different but complimentary services, the Maltese government assured.