About landings in Malta...
Never forget that the coordination of air operations over a war zone is a very complex thing especially when aircrafts must fly thousands of miles to reach or leave the combat zone.
So since day 1, most French Air Force aircrafts operating above Lybia took off from France (for example Rafale from Saint Dizier, 1300 miles from Lybia) or Corsica, unlike others Nato aircrafts which were coming from closer bases located in southern Italy, Crete and especially Sicily. So, since the beginning, Malta is an alternate airport used as things come, mainly for refueling the aircrafts with the furthest airbases that have consumed more fuel than expected and could miss or have missed one of their rendezvous with their tanker.
It should be less complex for the French Air force now since Rafales have been transfered to Sigonella/Sicily, 10 days ago, and since every Mirage 2000 N/D are in Suda/Crete. But that's not the case of the Mirage F1CR now coming from Mont-de-Marsan , Southwest of France.http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/de ... d=blogDesthttp://www.corsematin.com/article/corse ... -sigonella
What is important is that, regardless of duration and distance, no Rafale missions over Lybia were aborted because of aircraft unavailability and that the availability rate was always close to 100%.