Ryanair is Malta’s top airline; plans 67 routes in S24; 25 airports cut since 2006

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ULCC Ryanair has served the island of Malta, situated between Italy and North Africa, since October 2006. It started with two routes: London LTN and Pisa. Six more routes began in 2007: Bremen, Dublin, Girona, Stockholm NYO, Valencia and Venice TSF. The majority are still served.

Ryanair became Malta’s largest airline in 2016

In 2006, Ryanair said that it would become Malta’s largest airline within a year, helped by the fairly small size and precarious nature of Air Malta. Despite the bluster, that did not happen. In fact, Cirium shows that it was not until 2016 that Ryanair became the country’s leading operator.

In 2023, Ryanair had nearly 2.1 million departing seats, making Malta its 28th busiest airport network-wide, one position lower than Lisbon. It was about 80% larger than Air Malta, the carrier that will be replaced by the leaner and supposedly meaner KM Malta Airlines in late March 2024. Ryanair had nearly one in two of Malta’s seats last year (46%).

Ryanair versus Air Malta at Malta 2006-2023

The ULCC plans 67 Malta routes and seven based aircraft in S24

As stated by the airline and reflected in Cirium, 67 routes will be operated this summer, one more than in S23 and five more than in the pre-pandemic S19. Memmingen joined its network on 27 March 2023 (2-weekly). Three routes are coming: Rome FCO on 31 March (14-weekly), Norwich on 1 April (2-weekly) and Belfast BFS on 2 April (2-weekly). FCO and BFS were previously served.

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Routes will be to 25 countries, with Italy having the most (17). It is distantly followed by the UK (10), France (six), Poland (five) and Spain (four). For obvious reasons, Italy and the UK are so important that they account for half of the available seats and nine of the top 10 routes.

Rome FCO is Ryanair’s leading Malta market, although Catania was first in S23. FCO, some 690 kilometres away from Malta, is served by three carriers this summer. They have 36-weekly departures in July: KM Malta Airlines, as it will be then (15), Ryanair (14) and ITA (7). When all airlines are included, FCO is also Malta’s top destination.

Top 10 Ryanair routes from Malta S24

Ryanair has cut flights to 25 airports from Malta

Examining Cirium schedules indicates that Ryanair no longer serves 25 airports from Malta since the airport joined its network in 2006. More than half have been removed since 2020.

The list that follows excludes airports that have shut down and those only briefly served, e.g. due to runway repair works. It also does not include Kyiv KBP, which was served until the war. In some instances, nearby airports are now served instead, with some simply switching over or consolidating.

  • 2023: Karlsruhe, Tallinn
  • 2022: Amman, Brindisi, Genoa
  • 2021: Berlin BER, Cork, Leeds Bradford
  • 2020: Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Girona, Maastricht, Nuremburg, Oslo TRF, Santiago, Stockholm NYO
  • 2019: Aberdeen, Glasgow PIK, Gothenburg
  • 2018: Brussels BRU, Weeze
  • 2016: Kaunas
  • 2012: Malmo
  • 2008: Bremen

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