The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) refers to the launch of the new airline replacing Air Malta. MHRA President Tony Zahra asserts that, “MHRA has always been on the forefront to support initiatives to strengthen and improve our national airline – Air Malta. The story of the national airline can be best defined as an important channel to grow our fledging tourism industry from 1974 to the late eighties and a rough journey, tinged by managerial decisions which often were influenced by political direction that contradicted business logic. This was much more pronounced after Malta joined the EU and freedom of the skies were introduced heralding in a highly dynamic and competitive international market. The political direction was often diametrically different to economic realities and Air Malta was driven to a situation where there was no alternative but to close-down exactly on the eve of its 50th anniversary.”
MHRA has always been consistent and vociferous that Malta needs its own national airline as connectivity brings a myriad of critical social and economic benefits to our islands and people and absolutely cannot allow our lifeline to be solely in the hands of foreign operators. If we fail to have a national airline a very substantial part of our economic independence gained through great sacrifices since independence will be lost and Malta will no longer have its destiny in its own hands. We absolutely cannot have our connectivity fully dependent on foreign airlines.
In this light, the new Malta airline replacing Air Malta must be viewed as a unique opportunity to learn from past mistakes and avoid repeating them. The new airline must focus on its mission with nothing related to partisan politics interfering in the process. Indeed, MHRA believes that the next step now should be that of having private participation in the new shareholding structure.” In the meantime, MHRA augurs that the transition will be as seamless as possible and that any lost connections will be made up for by other constructive and effective initiatives.
“The new national airline brings hope for a better future for the travel and tourism sector in Malta, and all stakeholders along with Government must do their utmost to protect this unique chance to do things different and better,” concludes MHRA President Tony Zahra.