From the beginning of June, Malta will be welcoming tourists from 90 destinations through flights operated by 20 airlines. In the same way, these flights will be a travel opportunity for the Maltese.
Interviewed by Television Malta, the Chief Executive Officer of the Malta International Airport’s management company, Alan Borg, said that the good vaccination rate puts Malta at the forefront of having a summer with tourists, but the country must focus on providing a good experience for those who will visit us. He proposed a digital app that should be used by all passengers to pre-fill forms that have come into effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic and avoid queues at the airport.
Mr Borg made it clear that the situation is fluid and very different from other years where the summer schedule would have been closed between six and four months before.
“There are restrictions currently going on in various countries, therefore the numbers that I will give you now are important to take them in the context of the information that we have available today. That is, without restrictions these things will happen, with restrictions they may change.”
He said that this is a key factor in determining the decision of an airline not to operate or cancel a flight. TVM asked Mr Borg to compare the schedule drawn up so far for next summer with 2019 summer which was a good summer for tourism and travel.
“If you compare the 90 destinations with the number of destinations we had in the summer of 2019, which was 130, I have to say that the stakeholders – that is the government, the MTA, and our team have done a very good job to make it possible. Malta is on the radar of the main airlines we have in Europe.”
Mr Borg added that the company is taking the health and safety of all airport workers, service providers and passengers, very seriously.
“Undoubtedly, the vaccination rate has put Malta in pole position for this summer, but it is important that as a destination we have to focus on giving a high-level customer experience as a whole.”
On this point, the Chief Executive of the MIA remarked that technology is an important tool to use in a scenario where travel has become more complicated before the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that within a month an app will be developed for passengers coming to Malta who will be able to pre-fill the requested information and send the necessary forms so that when the passenger arrives in Malta, will have a calmer experience.
“Today when passengers arrive here, they need to present a passenger locator form, a health declaration card, and proof that they have a negative PCR test, depending on the country of origin which is typically 72 hours before their arrival. I think that if a passenger, would be able to fill in all this information before traveling to Malta, and these documents will be verified before landing here, then passengers will know that they will not need to wait in a queue and that will make a big difference.”
Mr Borg mentioned several other measures taken by the company to reduce physical contact including the installation of thermal cameras at each entrance of the airport, that measure people’s temperature, which will indicate if the person has a high temperature. There is also new equipment which scans passports and airline tickets without the need for any employee to touch them. He added that a team of sixteen employees have been engaged as Airport Care Team since the beginning of the pandemic, who are easily distinguished by a blue waistcoat, dedicated only in assisting passengers and monitoring that everyone is abiding with the health measures, such as masks worn properly and maintaining social distance.