It was a grand arrival for Air Malta's Airbus A320 9H-AEO this afternoon, which has been rebranded with the Valletta 2018 logo to promote Valletta’s bid to become European Capital of Culture 2018.

The aircraft returned to Malta from Shannon in Ireland where it had been getting its brand new look, sporting Valletta's iconic skyline, in the past days. It came to Malta with flight number KM 2018, a number specifically chosen to commemorate the event.

Prior to landing, Captain Laurence Gatt, who was flying the aircraft, performed a fly-past over the Luqa airstrip and upon landing, it was given a water cannon salute by two vehicles from MIA's fire-fighting section that were parked on each side of the taxiway.

Valletta’s candidacy, which is being supported by all localities in Malta and Gozo, was presented last October by Valletta Mayor Alexei Dingli to the Minister for Culture.

The capital of culture gets the chance to bring together and generate novel expressions of culture, creativity and innovation both from within its home country and abroad. It also provides the catalyst for the development and flourishing of high-quality artistic and cultural events and genres.

The event was addressed by Valletta 2018 Foundation project coordinator Karsten Xuereb, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech, Culture Minister Mario de Marco, Dr Dingli and Air Malta chairman Louis Farrugia and chief executive Peter Davies.

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