Sunday was a landmark day at Malta International Airport, as Air France kicked off its operation to the Maltese Islands, with a schedule service from Toulouse.

The inaugural flight – AF4370 on an Airbus A319 – was saluted by the Malta Airport Fire & Rescue team with a water arch, and passengers welcomed by the Paul Curmi Dancers, and given traditional Maltese Honey Rings and flowers.

The crew was welcomed on the apron by the Hon Minister for Tourism, Environment and Culture, Dr Mario de Marco; the French Ambassador to Malta, H.E. Michel Vandepoorter; Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) CEO, Josef Formosa Gauci; Malta Airport Head of Airline Marketing, Alan Borg and Air France KLM Regional Manager Mr Christian Lahccen.

Addressing the media, Mr Borg said that this connection to one of the most beautiful cities in the south of France did not happen by chance and it is the result of a lot of hard work from the airport, together with the Tourism Ministry and the MTA. “This is not only good news because Air France is a top international airline with a great brand presence in France as well around the world, but also because this addition to our network will continue to strengthen our Flag carrier share of traffic which together with our home carrier Air Malta, our Low-cost carriers and Charter Airlines, make Malta`s connectivity more comprehensive,” he added.

Mr Lahccen, on behalf of Air France-KLM General Manager for Malta & Italy Mr Bénédicte Duval, said that Air France decided to set up the regional bases in Toulouse, Nice and Marseille to meet the needs of their customers, “offering them very attractive fares with Air France services such as 23kg hold luggage, 12kg hand luggage, snacks on board, etc.”

In his conclusion speech, Minister de Marco referred to the relevance of the French tourism market for the Maltese Islands, it being the fourth largest. He expressed his satisfaction at the presence of Air France in Malta and said that this was due to the sterling work by Malta Airport and the Malta Tourism Authority, who together have succeeded in making this presence possible.

Air France has chosen Air Malta as its preferred ground handling provider. Services include passenger handling, ramp services, ground operations and other technical assistance.

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