Transport Airlines

Etihad Looks to Malta to Provide Cover for Alitalia Investment

Jul 21, 2014 8:30 am

Skift Take

Etihad can get Alitalia because it’s in such a bad shape. But is it worth jumping through these hoops?

— Marisa Garcia

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Aero Icarus  / Flickr

An Air Malta airplane. Aero Icarus / Flickr


Etihad Airways continues to strengthen its links to Europe and in the Mediterranean.

Air Malta and Etihad Airways have expanded their code-share agreement, adding airline codes to routes which will expand Air Malta’s reach as far as Australia.

Air Malta customers will be able to book flights with the Air Malta ‘KM’ code operated by Eithad between Abu Dhabi and Australia covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Air Malta has also recently put its flight codes on Etihad Airways’ flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow, Brussels, and Manchester.

Etihad Airways is placing its ‘EY’ code and flight number of Air Malta’s non-stop service between Rome and Malta, which gives the airline an effective bridge between the Maltese archipelago and its services out of Rome.

As Skift has reported, the Maltese are second only to Luxembourgers among Europeans for taking their holiday trips abroad, with 60% of Maltese doing so.

Air Malta’s Chief Executive Louis Giordimaina said of the new agreement: “This agreement will benefit the sizable Maltese community living in Australia as it will facilitate travel and connectivity between the Maltese islands and the Australian continent.”

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “The launch of Etihad Airways’ flights to Rome and Perth this week has created an exciting opportunity to build upon the success of our code-share agreement with Air Malta. The two airlines have been code-share partners since 2010 and through our expanded cooperation, business and leisure travellers with benefit from improved connections to key destinations around the world.”

Air Malta, which first took flight on 1st April 1974, has been opened up and connected Malta to the rest of the world, diversifying and presenting new tourism market opportunities to and from the islands.

Abu-Dhabi based Etihad Airways carried 11.5 million passengers in 2013, and flies to destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways.

Its bid for a 49% stake in Alitalia was approved by the Italian national carrier’s Board this June with original expectations that final negotiations would be wrapped up in mid-July. Reuters has reported this week that a final agreement is delayed due to labor objections to the approximately 1,635 job cuts Etihad proposes to bring the Italian carrier back to profit. Italy’s largest labor union, the CGIL has refused to endorse the deal.Etihad is also in the process of formalising its equity investment in Swiss-based Etihad Regional.

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