Flite (Malta) (Malta International) aims to start commercial operations in early 2024 and is already recruiting CRJ900 pilots for its launch, Chief Executive Officer Tony Davies has told aeroTELEGRAPH.

The European subsidiary of US capacity provider Mesa Airlines (YV, Phoenix Sky Harbor) still awaits its air operator's certificate (AOC) from Transport Malta, but Davies confirmed plans are going ahead: "I can confirm that Flite plans to start operations in the spring of next year." He said more details would be announced soon.

Davies was not available for more details, while Transport Malta declined to comment.

Flite was supposed to debut in late April 2023 as the production carrier of Austrian virtual start-up Liliair (Klagenfurt) using two CRJ900s to connect its home base, Klagenfurt, with the German cities of Frankfurt International, Munich, and Hamburg Helmut Schmidt. With Flite's certification delayed, Liliair approached Marathon Airlines (O8, Athens) but the project failed to launch as planned amid a legal stalemate over the funding of the airport.

Flite initially hoped for certification in Malta by summer 2022, parent Mesa Airlines told ch-aviation, but regulatory issues and Covid-19 delays saw it shift its expectation to spring 2023.

Flite will also provide a European platform for Mesa Airlines to launch electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) operations. Mesa Airlines has extensive eVTOL aircraft orders, including 200 from Archer Aviation for United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare); and 100 ES-19s from Heart Aerospace.