The carrier’s fleet renewal program is back on track.
Air Malta has welcomed its newest Airbus A320neo, the fifth to join its fleet and the first in over two-and-a-half years. The jet will sport a minimalist livery and replace one of the airline’s older A320ceo aircraft.
Air Malta welcomes 9H-NEE
The carrier’s fifth Airbus A320neo (registration: 9H-NEE) made its delivery flight on March 24th, flying for approximately two hours from Toulouse (TLS) to Malta International Airport (MLA). The aircraft was powered by a blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and piloted by Captain Patrick Calleja – commanding his final Air Malta flight after a 31-year career with the carrier – and First Officer Mark Attard.
The aircraft can accommodate up to 180 passengers in an all-economy layout and continues Air Malta’s fleet renewal strategy launched in 2018 – the efficient next-generation jet will replace 9H-AEQ, a 16-year-old 168-seater Airbus A320ceo that has been at the airline since 2007 and hasn’t flown since January.
Data from FlightRadar24.com shows that 9H-NEE has already been deployed into service – the plane flew from Malta to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) this morning and will operate three more legs on this route today.
9H-NEE is the first plane to showcase the carrier’s new livery – Air Malta claims its updated livery is more cost-effective and “picks up from the colors and elements of the Maltese flag.”
The design incorporates the red and white of the Maltese flag, dropping the blue, orange, yellow and green elements of its previous livery for a simpler look – as with its others A320neos, the cabin is fitted with Blueview in-flight entertainment digital systems for passengers’ enjoyment.
Airlines, passengers and the environment stand to save a lot from the rollout of next-generation aircraft like the A320neo. With its two CFM International LEAP-1A engines, the ultra-quiet jet offers 20% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions and lower maintenance costs compared to the A320ceo, helping Air Malta to achieve its sustainability and emissions targets moving forward.
The A320neo also features a cabin air refresh rate of 2 minutes and utilizes ozone converters to “further purify the cabin air from external fumes.” Since welcoming its first A320neo in June 2018, the carrier has phased out five of its older A320ceos, soon to be six with the arrival of 9H-NEE – Air Malta now has a fleet of five Airbus A320neos and three A320ceos and plans to become an all-neo airline by phasing out its remaining ceos.
Have you had the chance to fly on one of Air Malta’s Airbus A320neos? What are your thoughts on the carrier’s new livery? Let us know in the comment section.