Ryanair is set to expand its empire as the company announced plans to buy start-up airline Malta Air.
The purchase is expected to be completed by the end of June 2019, after which it will look to grow and move its Malta-based fleet of six B737 aircraft.
In fact, the group has plans to increase the fleet to 10 aircraft within three years, with an aim to create over 350 jobs.
The investment will mean that the company can also start accessing non-EU markets, specifically North Africa, with flights from Malta.
The company also revealed it would be moving Ryanair based aircraft from France, Italy and Germany onto the Malta AOC.
This means crews will be able to pay their income taxes locally in France, Italy and Germany instead of Ireland where they are currently required to pay income taxes under Ryanair’s Irish AOC.
As for the new Malta Air fleet, there are currently plans to brand the company's Malta-based fleet into the new livery in time for summer 2020.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair CEO, said: "Ryanair is pleased to welcome Malta Air to the Ryanair Group of airlines which now includes Buzz (Poland), Lauda (Austria), Malta Air, and Ryanair (Ireland).
"Malta Air will proudly fly the Maltese name and flag to over 60 destinations across Europe and North Africa as we look to grow our Maltese based fleet, routes, traffic and jobs over the next three years.
"Ryanair’s continued partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority will help drive forward the vision of Prime Minister Muscat and Minister Mizzi to grow year round connections to all corners of Europe which will support increased tourism, business and jobs in Malta.
"Ryanair appreciates the expertise of the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) in licencing Malta Air to operate the B737 aircraft and we look forward to working closely with the Maltese authorities over the coming years as we hope to add over 50 more aircraft to the Maltese register."
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