Malta’s Universal Air is branching into new scheduled regional airline services, preparing to open initial flights to Munich and the Hungarian city of Pecs before the end of March.

The carrier is to commence the twice-weekly flights on 26 March, while a third summer frequency will be added on 2 June.

Universal Air is using De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprops, configured with 78 seats. It received its first (9H-SWW) at the beginning of this year, and intends to take four to replace Dash 8-100s.

The airline says it aims to combine the cost-efficiency of budget carriers with the premium-economy service of legacy operators.

Universal Air Dash 8-400-c-Universal Air

Source: Universal Air

Universal is modernising its fleet, replacing Dash 8-100s with the larger -400

Universal Air plans to open additional links to destinations including Athens, Palermo, Ibiza and Corfu.

“Our ambition is to lead a renaissance in air travel, becoming the preferred airline for modern travellers seeking value and convenience,” says chief executive Simon Cook.

“We want to exceed our customers’ expectations, making flying more accessible, enjoyable and sustainable.”

Universal Air says it has booking options available on a mobile app and its website, but is also developing partnerships with global distribution services and online travel agents.

Prior to the airline venture the company had provided charter and cargo services from Malta.