Air Malta to be replaced by a new national airline by the end of the year, Exec Chairman confirms
The new Air Malta is expected to continue operating right until the new one takes over
Malta’s national airline, Air Malta will officially be replaced by a new flag-carrier following comments made to Times of Malta by David Curmi, the airline’s Executive Chairman.
The fact that the country’s national airline was expected to wind down operations had become an open secret in recent months, especially following reports made last weekend that the airline was to undergo dissolution by the end of the year.
“We created a five-year business plan and we are close to concluding on that. If we stick to this plan, then we will have a national airline that makes business sense,” had commented Mr Curmi.
He explained that the remaining 330 staff with Air Malta, which were brought down from 1,000, would be made redundant and will have the opportunity to apply with the new airline.
It is likely that the new airline will take on the Alitalia – ITA solution, which saw a new, debt-free Italian national airline acquire half of the original airline’s aircraft and a quarter of its staff and had an investment plan approved by the EU Commission.
Mr Curmi explained that the new airline will have its own booking platform, and that the old company will operate right until the new one takes over, allowing a seamless transition. This is unlike what happened with Alitalia – ITA, which refunded flights booked for customers past the date of dissolution.
However, it is not yet clear how many of the routes the new airline will inherit from the original one.
The decision to start a new debt-free airline to replace Air Malta comes after Malta failed to receive permission from the EU Commission to give the ailing airline a capital injection of 290 million. Despite slashing headcount by 50 per cent and removing unprofitable routes, it was unable to convince the EU Commission.