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Airline Price Wars Sees Malta Fares Tumble For 2008

Apr 4, 2008
The last two years have seen Malta's national carrier face a series of new competitors bring tourists to the airlines home base of Luqa Airport Malta, and the price of a flight to Malta from many European destinations has fallen as a result.

And as competition has increased and fares reduced, Air Malta has battled to retain her passengers, and sought to gain more with new routes, notably from Liverpool's John Lennon Airport in the North-West of England.

The UK is traditionally Malta's strongest market for tourists, and the first low cost flights to challenge the airline were from London's Luton Airport.

The low cost competitors have boosted Malta's tourist trade considerably, and it is thought that last year, 2007, might well have been the Mediterranean island's best year ever for the number of holidaymakers received.

As well as opening new routes from the UK, Air Malta has gone a step further to boost the number of people it carries to her home base for 2008 by doing a deal with a UK holidays company.

The Malta holidays company has agreed to use Air Malta for its flights, and will boost the number of flights the airline is able to offer customers from the all important London Gatwick to Malta route, strenghtening its position in the London market.

But the airline could well face even more competition for the holidays in Malta market for the summer of 2008 - of all the low cost carriers the best known UK one, easyJet, has been unable to fly to Malta having not reached an amicable agreement with the island. This is about to change however, and could see lower cost flights to Malta this year for the summer 2008 holiday season, a year when the Malta holidays industry is hoping to augment a successful 2007.

easyJet recently bought GB Airways who were franchised by British Airways to fly many of their European routes - including to Malta, with convenient afternoon slots out of London's Gatwick Airport.

'When we checked recently to book a BA flight from Gatick to Malta for early next summer, it was showing a flight at under 100 sterling, which is pretty competitive for a good time of day flight', comments one travel guide for Malta.

Rival low cost airlines might view easyJet's entry to the Malta market as a back door method, while others in the aviation industry will view the development as nothing out of the ordinary when one company takes over another, and the new routes are part of why a company would want to buy another in the first place.

The UK market for the Malta holidays industry, despite the diversification the island has enjoyed with more visitors from Germany and Italy, remains a vital one and provides more visitors than any other country.

Currently for London and the Home Counties, the economic powerhouse of the UK economy, low cost airlines fly from Luton, convenient for the northern counties and North London. Gatwick, which is more convenient for wealthy Surrey and South London, is served by regular carriers.

But it is Gatwick that easyJet will be flying from to Malta, and potentially is the most lucrative UK route for a low cost carrier.
About the Author
For 2008 Malta holiday deals visit yourmalta.com

Details for 3, 4 and 5 star Malta hotels and for those visiting both Cyprus and Malta villa holidays in cyprus are also available.
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