Air Malta and Alitalia have jointly decided to terminate the talks, which would have led to Alitalia becoming a 49% shareholder in Malta’s national carrier, Alitalia said in a statement.
On April 2016, both airlines signed a MoU with Maltese government on the intention of the acquisition of 49% of Air Malta by Alitalia. The two airlines agreed that the current changing landscape in the airline industry was not ideal for such a transaction and that both airlines would concentrate on the current challenges without entering into a partnership. “Air Malta and Alitalia will continue to collaborate closely commercially through a recently launched extensive code-sharing program”, the airlines said in a joint statement. Alitalia, which is nearing the end of a three-year turnaround plan, again faces significant financial losses. The carrier has been asked to present a detailed business plan the Italian government later this month. Commenting on the announcement via social media, Maltese Tourism Minister, Edward Zammit Lewis, said despite Alitalia’s withdrawal, Air Malta had attracted interest from other unspecified strategic partners.
Air Malta, the flag carrier of Malta, now operates a fleet of 9 aircraft and connects Malta with other cities within Europe, North Africa and Turkey. Though the equity talks have fallen through, the two airlines will continue to cooperate through a recently concluded code sharing agreement.