Orion737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2577 times:
I remember when Air Malta purchased a fleet of Avro RJ70s for its shorter routes which were not the most suited to airbus or Boeing equipment. They had them for a very short time, why were they phased out so soon? KM have lots of short routes like Catania/Palermo? and many routes could be better operated with an ATR72 to increase frequency develop new routes in North Africa which couldnt sustain the 319.
Knightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1843 posts, RR: 19
Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2559 times:
The problem was that KM was looking for an aircraft which showed as much commonality with the other types in its fleet at the time so that it would be easier to swap one type for the other. Anybody could have told them that that was not going to work but Avro was so eager to sell them the planes, they would have promised KM anything. However, the RJ proved uneconomical on many of the longer route, in addition to being not very well received at all by passengers.
I flew with one of those RJs from Malta to Zurich once. I was fortunate enough to get the window seat in the first row but even so the 2h15mins to ZRH were an ordeal!
At the time KM was also actively pursuing a strategy to turn Malta in to a mediterranean hub. Unfortunately though, the way they went about it made it clear very early on that they wouldn't succeed. Transfer times in Malta for some connection were ridiculously long, many of the flights either arrived or departed at the most unearthly hours and frequencies between some city pairs were limited in some cases to only one flight a few! Since then a lot of things have changed at KM and instead they appear to have retreated to being merely a point to point carrier connecting Malta to the rest of Europe. Perhaps it might have worked if they had been willing to invest in their fleet and infrastructure.
Vfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 4206 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2469 times:
KM did not buy the RJ70 for shorter routes. They were ordered for long, thin routes serving regional charter markets in Germany, the UK etc. For that purpose, the aircraft were fitted with extra fuel tanks to give them the legs standard RJ70 do not have.
Orion737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2461 times:
Do KM have a need though for a turboprop or RJ for regional routes? im thinkiong increase in frequencies to Sicilly and opening routes to North African destinations as well as being more suited to Cairo and Larnaca, allowing an increase in frequency vs capacity?
BBADXB From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2227 times:
From my understanding, KM's RJs were plagued with problems (political meddling, technical, and marketing issues) from the very beginning.
KM wanted to buy Fokkers, but Malta was in the process of applying to join the EU. The Netherlands had no problem with Malta joining the EU (no Fokkers needed to be bought in order to get the Dutch green light), however the UK was at the time opposed to having small countries joining the EU out of fear that a larger number of small countries will take influence away from a fewer number of larger EU countries (shameful, in my opinion, that the British leadership at the time was not in favour of Malta joining the EU, given the long historical relations between the two countries, hmm). It was a political decision to buy RJs instead of Fokkers, in order to please the UK, and get their green light.
The RJs were very unpopular with customers and were used on uneconomical 'long' routes. The RJ was not designed for 'long' routes, and the result was that on a small fleet of RJs (I believe 8 a/c), Air Malta was experiencing the need of one new engine per month on average. Moreover, sometimes, they had to make an unscheduled stop in BRU on flights between Malta and the UK. This aircraft was the start of Air Malta's trouble.
From a marketing point of view, I think that Air Malta is doing well at the moment. I believe that their service and product standards are the highest they have been in the last 3 to 4 years. I haven't got a clue about their financial position, although with the high price of oil, I do not think that they are doing well. Moreover, there's a lot of unrest between the pilot union (how bloody typical!) and management. The pilot union is ready to go on strike, and I'm afraid that such greediness will result in the folding of Air Malta.