Universal Air (VO, Malta International) has announced plans to operate scheduled flights out of its home airport in Malta, on top of the previously announced routes out of Pecs in Hungary.

The airline will connect the island with:

All routes will be served with DHC-8-Q400s. CEO Simon Cook told the Times of Malta that despite the high competition, the airline is confident that its business model will work. It aims to offer a mid-tier product, with more frills than on LCCs but cheaper fares than legacy carriers. The Dash 8s have lower operating costs and can profitably serve thinner routes, he added.

The carrier, which has hitherto focused on charter operations, is set to begin scheduled flights on March 26 with two routes out of Pecs, to Malta and Munich, each operated 2x weekly. It will be the only airline operating scheduled flights from the southwestern Hungarian airport.

The ch-aviation fleets module shows that Universal Air has so far taken a single DHC-8-Q400s, with two more on the way. The aircraft are replacing the legacy fleet of two DHC-8-100s and one DHC-8-Q100 (sold to Widerøe). Cook explained that in 2021, Universal faced the need to renew its Dash 8-100 fleet due to its age. While its charter-focused business model is "working, and there’s a lot of work for that [...], we needed to upgrade. So the choice was whether to upgrade what we were doing or take the opportunity to change how we wanted to go forward," he said.

Universal Air plans to continue operating charter flights on top of its scheduled operations.