Ryanair has detailed plans to set up a unit in Malta, adding to its growing stable of airlines.
The Irish carrier will move six Malta-based Boeing 737s into start-up Malta Air and plans to grow the fleet based in the country to 10 aircraft within three years.
In addition, 200 crew will move to local Maltese contracts, and Ryanair says it plans to create 350 jobs over three years.
Ryanair says the investment will give it access to North Africa markets from Malta. The Maltese government had on 9 June disclosed an outline of the plans saying that the Ryanair initiative would help develop the island nation into a southern European transit hub.
"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," states Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary.
The budget carrier will also add to its Maltese air operator's certificate (AOC) dozens of Ryanair aircraft currently based across France, Germany and Italy. The move will allow employees to pay income tax in those countries, rather than in Ireland, where the aircraft are currently registered.
"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," adds O'Leary.
Ryanair says it hopes to complete the investment in Malta Air by the end of June.
Malta Air will join Buzz, Lauda, Ryanair UK and the main Ryanair operation within the group. Ryanair had set up an IAG-style structure earlier this year to manage its operating units.