The Russian naval destroyer RFS Smetlivy (810) - modified Kashin class (Project 61) - has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a five-day courtesy visit.
This is RFS Smetlivy's second port-call in the Grand Harbour this month, her first visit was between 22nd and 25th.
RFS Smetlivy has left from her homeport at Sevastopol on Oct 18th for the Mediterranean Sea to participate in the Ioniex-2012 joint Russian-Italian naval exercise to be held from 5th to 10th November off the Italian coast.
The Russian destroyer is presently berthing alongside at Boiler Wharf, and she's expected to sail from Malta on Sunday, Nov. 4th, at 0830LT.
Air Malta has announced yesterday its first piece of good news since 2008: an operational profit of €400,000 for the first half of the year. This was mostly due to increased revenue and lower costs, including better-priced fuel. The last time the airline recorded a profit was four years ago.
Air Malta registered an €8 million loss in the same period last year, which means the airline has climbed back by €8.4 million. These "interim results" also mean that the airline is €1.4 million ahead of budget, Air Malta said in a statement.
Air Malta handled 1.05 million passengers during this period (ending September), a slight reduction over last year’s 1.1 million. The seat capacity reduction was counteracted by successful efforts to fill planes, measured through the "passenger seat factor". This increased by 2% to an average of 79%.
The carrier reduced costs in various areas during the period under review, including a €3.2 million cut in fuel costs and €2.2 million on personnel. However, CEO P. Davies warned that the second half of the year, which includes winter, would be "undoubtedly tougher" due to Malta’s seasonality, diminishing hopes of registering another profit.
The closure of Catania-Fontanarossa airport from Nov. 5th to Dec. 5th due to infrastructural works on the runway, will be affecting Air Malta's flights to this airport. The airline said in a statement this evening that as Sigonella military airbase can only handle a maximun of four arrivals/departures per hour, it was forced to transfer its operations to Sigonella and cancel some services on certain dates.
Air Malta said that flight check-in will still be done at Catania's Airport and will open three hours prior to the schedule time of departure. Check-in will close 90 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. Checked in passengers will then be taken by coach to Sigonella. Passengers arriving at Sigonella from Malta will be transferred by coach to Catania airport, from where they will pick their luggage. Air Malta said it is contacting passengers booked on these flights advising them of the changes and offering them alternatives. (Source: timesofmalta.com)
A Ryanair Boeing 737-800, with registration EI-DYD, operating retun flight RYR7794 from Bologna (Italy) to Malta IAP was forced to divert to Trapani, in Sicily, this evening because of a severe thunderstom in the Sicily-Malta channel. The flight continued to Malta IAP later on in the evening.
During a press conference, L. Ferendez, marketing manager for Malta, said that during the coming winter season, Ryanair will reduce Madrid-Malta route from three flights per week to two and suspend services to Valencia, Girona and Seville. The Girona and Seville routes were also suspended last winter.
There will be just one flight a week to Stockholm and Edinburgh; two per week to Eindhoven, Madrid, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Stansted, Dublin, Marseille, Bari, Pisa and Turin. There will be three flights a week to Luton, Treviso, Trapani and Bologna. A number of other routes from Malta have been suspended for the winter. These are Billund, Kaunus, Olso, Krakow, Wroclaw, Bournemouth and Glasgow. They are almost certain to be reinstated in the summer Mr Fernandez said. He said that the airline is this winter is operating 36 weekly flights, down from 75 in August and one less than last winter. One aircraft will continue to be based in Malta. He said the cutbacks were dictated by low demand during the winter, as well as fuel prices.
Passenger movements at Malta IAP in September reached 407,917 – i.e. the highest number ever registered in September, registering the sixth consecutive record month. The increase in passenger movements, when compared to the same month last year, is equivalent to an increase of 6.6%.
This record result in September was achieved with an increase of 3.6% in seat capacity over the same period last year, with a total of 476,074 seats. In the same month, aircraft movements increased by 3.5% over the corresponding period last year, whereas the average seat load factor increased by 2.5% to reach 85.7%. The maximum take-off weight was 2.9% higher than that registered in September last year, whilst cargo and mail was 3.6% lower than that recorded during the same month in 2011.
In this same month, the Spanish market grew considerably, registering an increase of 14.7%, whereas the French, Italian and U.K. markets grew slightly, by 2.5%, 0.5% and 0.2% respectively. The only main market to register a decrease in September when compared to same period last year was the German one, with a decrease of 5%.
January – September 2012: The results for the first nine months of the year, in terms of passenger movements, therefore show an increase of 4.1% when compared to the same period last year, totalling 2,896,724 passenger movements. The increase of 2.8% in the seat load factor – which for the period January to September 2011 stands at 78.9% – together with the marginal increase of 0.4% in seat capacity was the main driver of this result.