Ryanair confirms it will buy Malta Air

Move by the Irish company will give it a Maltese air operator’s certificate and access to markets in North Africa

Ryanair confirmed on Tuesday that it will buy Malta Air in a move that will open more non-EU markets to the Irish airline.

It emerged this week that Ryanair was close to buying Malta Air, a start-up carrier based on the Mediterranean island.

The Irish company confirmed on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the carrier which will give it a Maltese air operator's certificate (AOC) – airline licence – and access to markets in North Africa.

Ryanair said that it expected to complete the deal by the end of June. Following this the company will switch six Malta-based aircraft on to the country’s register and increase this number to 10 within three years, which the airline predicted would create more than 350 jobs.

The Irish airline will brand its Malta-based fleet in Malta Air colours for summer 2020.

The company will also move Ryanair craft from France, Italy and Germany onto to its Maltese AOC, which it says will allow their crews pay income taxes locally instead of in the Republic, as they are obliged to under the airline's Irish AOC.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, welcomed Malta Air to the Irish group. He said that Malta Air would fly the country's name and flag to more than 60 destinations in Europe and North Africa as Ryanair sought to grow its Maltese-based fleet, routes, traffic and jobs over the next three years.


Malta's minister for tourism Konrad Mizzi said the relationship between the country and Ryanair had evolved into a successful collaboration.

“We welcome Ryanair’s commitment to operate and grow a fully fledged Malta-based airline which will contribute in a large way to the country’s development.”

Mr O'Leary noted that Ryanair looked forward to working with the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate while the airline added more than 50 craft to the country's register.

Ryanair shares closed up 0.24 per cent at €10.65 in Dublin on Tuesday after hitting highs of €10.665 during the day.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas