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The impact of low cost airline operations to Malta

Graham, Anne and Dennis, Nigel (2008) The impact of low cost airline operations to Malta. In: 48th Congress of the European Regional Science Association, 27 - 31 August 2008, Liverpool, UK.

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Abstract

Tourism numbers to Malta have been stagnant for a number of years and the Government is looking at ways to diversify the tourist industry. Therefore in 2006 the controversial step was taken to provide price incentives for low cost carriers (LCCs) to fly to the island. Ryanair began operating services from Luton airport. It has subsequently introduced other routes to Malta and further airlines, including easyJet, have also started or are planning services to this destination. It is thus the aim of this paper to examine the impact that LCC operations are likely to have on the volume and profile of passengers visiting Malta. The research is divided into two parts. The first part uses passenger survey and statistical data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the UK International Passenger Survey and Malta Airport to assess the short-term impact so far of the LCCs in terms of passenger traffic for all airlines and passenger characteristics, such as length of stay, seasonality and socio-economic group. An examination is also made of the changes which have occurred to the airline services, in terms of schedules and airports served, and how this has altered access to the destination. Then the second part uses UK data sources to investigate the longer-term impact that LCCs have had on other routes which are similar in some respects to Malta. Both parts of the research aim to assess whether the LCCs have generated new traffic or merely taken it from existing scheduled and charter operations and to what extent the passenger profile has changed as a result of a different mix of airlines on the routes. These findings are used to determine whether in the longer term the LCCs will merely facilitate existing custom in terms of tourism flows to Malta, or whether they will attract a different kind of visitor. The implications are very important for Malta as it is aiming for a slow re-alignment of its tourism product from packaged 'sun and sea' holidays towards urban / cultural tourism. The evidence suggests that the LCC operations may well assist the destination in achieving this aim.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Community:University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment, School of
ID Code:6172
Deposited On:04 Mar 2009 11:18
Last Modified:22 Oct 2009 12:34

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