KM Malta Airlines (KM, Malta International) launched commercial operations on March 31, taking over as Malta's flag carrier from Air Malta (Malta International), which ceased operations a day earlier after 50 years of flying.

Using a new call sign, "Sky Knight", a KM Malta Airlines A320-200N, 9H-NEF (msn 11518), landed at Malta International on March 31 after a short hop from Catania, before commencing commercial operations to Munich (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Rome Fiumicino (Italy), and Prague Václav Havel (Czechia), according to ADS-B data.

A day earlier, Air Malta A320neo 9H-NED (msn 10106) departed Malta for the airline's last rotation to London Heathrow (UK), also returning to the island nation on March 31.

The establishment of the new Maltese flag carrier was first announced in October 2023 as a solution to replacing the consistently loss-making Air Malta. This follows European Commission-sanctioned state aid for the new entity, totalling EUR350 million euros (USD370 million), including EUR50 million (USD53 million) in working capital and EUR300 million (USD317 million) in assets. Under the agreement with Brussels, the government will look for a strategic partner after three years but retain a majority shareholding.

The government hired international aviation consultancy firm Knighthood Global to project manage the transition and help set up a new European Union-compliant legal and operational structure and meet the planned launch date following the approval by the Maltese parliament and the EC of a five-year business plan for a new national airline.

The business plan is structured around "a robust network of key destinations and a modern, fuel-efficient fleet to ensure stable, regular, and all-year-round connectivity", the consultancy said in a statement. Working with the management, Knighthood oversaw the implementation of regulatory, financial, commercial, and operational requirements for the new carrier.

KM Malta takes over Air Malta's fleet of six A320neo jets - five leased from AerCap and one from Avolon, according to the ch-aviation fleets module. Of Air Malta's two A320-200s, 9H-AEP (msn 3056) flies for KM Malta Airlines and 9H-AHS (msn 5086) is in maintenance in Rome. KM Malta also wet-leases A320-200 9H-MLO (msn 5653) from Avion Express Malta (4X, Malta International), ch-aviation fleets data shows.