Air Malta has reached an agreement to be included on Ryanair’s website, allowing passengers to book flights directly from there.

Chairman Charles Mangion said in an interview that this “exciting” new service would be available by this summer.

This is only one of the innovations being introduced during what he described as “a period of consolidation”, when the airline will focus on building up 15 new routes and a new schedule which will mean that each aircraft operates for 14 hours a day in summer.

While keeping its business class, the airline intends to adopt other strategies used by low-cost airlines, such as offering services like car hire and hotel bookings.

Anything over 10kg in cabin baggage will have to be checked in and paid for accordingly, at higher rates than if it were booked beforehand

It will also be much stricter when it comes to enforcing limits on cabin baggage, warning defaulters that anything over 10kg will have to be checked in and paid for accordingly – at higher rates than if it were booked beforehand.

Mr Mangion said that the workforce had now been reduced to 550 – the result of 450 leaving on early retirement and a further 450 moving to a new ground and passenger-handling company.

He said that this was the appropriate level given the increased number of flights, but said there was still another voluntary retirement scheme planned, which would help to bring in fresh blood.

Asked whether the accumulated losses of €240 million were justified, Mr Mangion did not hesitate, saying that the airline had contributed considerably over the past 45 years, not just to tourism but to other economic sectors, like financial services and e-gaming.

However, he admitted that selling its UK airport slots to Malta Air Travel saved the company, when asked about the fact that the airline group’s liabilities exceeded its assets by €64.6 million at the end of financial year 2017.

“Saving the slots saved the company,” he said.

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