At present, direct flights from Malta to the US are not available, with the easiest (and cheapest) routes generally being via the UK or Germany. This is an obvious hassle, with an often extended stopover, not to mention the frustration of beginning your flight by flying in largely the wrong direction.
However, this could all be about to change…
Hi Fly Malta, the Maltese subsidiary of Portuguese airline leasing company Hi Fly, has apparently applied to the US Department of Transport for a licence to operated between Malta and New York JFK. This application neatly fits in with the initial reports on Hi Fly Malta’s intended operation for the Maltese market, which indicated that it would operate with two four-engined Airbus A340 airliners. Now the Airbus A340 is a long haul aeroplane, that is regularly used between Europe and the US.
Details beyond the above are minimal. It is not clear, for example, whether Hi Fly itself would operate the route itself, or whether it would partner its planes with another airline (which is almost certain to be the case, given that it is Hi Fly’s existing business model: the question then becomes, which airline?). It may well be that this is nothing more than some commercial tactics: many airlines apply for route rights that they don’t operate, often to block competitors from obtaining the rights.
Despite the uncertainty over the motivations for this, it is undoubtedly an interesting development, and one that we will monitor closely. Clearly a direct route between the US and Malta would be a welcome step.