Newark-Malta charter flights for cruise passengers
Malta could see an influx of North American tourists this summer if planned Lufthansa charter flights between New York and Malta are successful.
Flights are planned in conjunction with a large cruise line known as Viking Cruises.
The deal is still pending confirmation, Lufthansa spokesman Boris Ogursky said.
The tickets will not be on sale to the public via the airline but reserved for the customers of the cruise line.
Charter flights are different from scheduled flights, in that Lufthansa would simply fly the planes on behalf of the operator who would determine the route and take responsibility for reservations.
If the series of flights gets the green light, they will operate between Newark Airport, New Jersey and Malta, irregularly between July and October, according to Flightview flight tracking.
Over the weekend, people took to social media to express surprise at the planned route, which a tweet interpreted as about to replace the Newark-Munich one.
“What the hell would @LufthansaUSA drop twice a week over Newark – Munich to fly to Newark – Malta instead this summer?” It’s a strange road. Mistake? Cargo? âBrett Snyder tweeted.
Lufthansa was unable to disclose information on the cruise line behind the deal except that it operates trips to the Mediterranean region.
A look at the calendar of Viking cruises departing from Malta this summer shows that the dates match exactly with Lufthansa’s scheduled flights to and from Malta. The Viking Sea and Viking Venus will both be based in Malta this summer, and these ships each have a capacity of 930 passengers.
Viking’s largest customer base is Americans, so these charter flights are meant to make it easier to get in and out of Malta. With 293 seats on each plane, nearly a third of the passengers on each ship could take these flights.
In the past, having to log in to get to Malta wouldn’t have been that complicated, but currently transit restrictions at major European airports are complex (in terms of issues such as eligibility and tests), so a nonstop flight from the United States to Malta is more valuable than ever.
Unfortunately, these flights will not be open to the general public, so anyone else wishing to travel to Malta will have to find different arrangements.
A spokesperson for the Department of Tourism confirmed plans were in the works for flights from New York to the island, but had not answered any further questions at the time of writing.
Direct flights from Malta to New York were first offered in 1995 by Air Malta and Balkan Bulgarian Airlines, which ended the service two years later.
In the summer of 2000, Air Malta again opened flights to New York, using American Trans Air planes.
Independent journalism costs money. Times of Malta support for the price of a coffee.