Irish low cost carrier Ryanair has announced its plans to launch a Maltese based subsidiary, confusingly called Malta Air. This will be the fifth airline set up by the group, alongside LaudaMotion based in Austria, Buzz (which previously operated as Ryanair Sun) based in Poland, Ryanair UK and of course, the main airline themselves, Ryanair. The Maltese government will have a “Golden Share” in the new airline, which will give it some say towards any major changes the airline wishes to make.
The current plan is to take the six Ryanair 737-800’s based in Malta, transfer them to the Maltese register and repaint them into their own livery. These will be joined by a further four aircraft within three years. The new airline will take over the 61 routes that the parent airline currently operates from the Mediterranean island
Also joining the Maltese register will be more than fifty aircraft based across Europe, no doubt as a cost cutting measure.
There is talk of Ryanair using the airport as a maintenance hub, which already is home to a Lufthansa Technik hangar.
Many of the news outlets are commenting on how the airline is shifting to a similar structure to that of IAG (owner of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling) and the Lufthansa group (comprising of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings), who have a parent company with a selection of other airlines based in various countries.
With a fleet of 439 aircraft across the group and 260 more on order, Ryanair will shortly takeover the crown of Europes biggest airline from the Lufthansa Group.