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Pilots’ union boss says Air Malta is 'getting back' at him

ALPA president Dominic Azzopardi says he is the target of character assassination attempts by Air Malta’s management.

Jurgen Balzan
19 August 2012, 12:00am
Pilot Dominic Azzopardi
Air Malta's airline pilots' association (ALPA) president Dominic Azzopardi vehemently denied delaying an Air Malta flight and insisted that the airline is trying to get back to him and ALPA for giving notice of an industrial dispute on Friday.

Speaking to MaltaToday, Azzopardi said that on Friday the association informed the Air Malta management and the industrial tribunal of an industrial dispute, which will come into force as of Wednesday.

Pilots and Air Malta's management remain at loggerheads over the restructuring of the national airline - recently the airline said pilots wanted an increase in their annual salaries, while pilots say they are right in demanding an increase after having frozen their salaries for three years in a bid to assist the airline restructuring.

Azzopardi was reacting to front-page report on today's Sunday Times in which an Air Malta spokesperson declared that the airline investigating the delay of a flight from Milan to Malta after the captain waited 30 minutes for Azzopardi.

He shed doubts on whether such an episode merited a front-page report while reminding that Air Malta chairman Louis Farrugia sits on the board of directors at Allied Newspapers Ltd, publishers of The Times and The Sunday Times.

ALPA's president insisted that the story was leaked by "people at the top" of the Air Malta's management and not by passengers on board the aircraft.

"This is a clear attempt of character assassination against me and the association, from the very top of the airline's management," a bellicose Azzopardi said.

"We will not give in. We mean business. It seems that the airline has enough money for the re-branding exercise and for the astronomical wages received by the management," Azzopardi said.

He explained that he is a company employee and is not part of the management, adding that his role as ALPA president is carried out on a voluntary basis, "and not on a €500,000 salary."

Air Malta posted a loss of €30 million this year, after having received the European Commission's green light for a restructuring plan in which the airline must become profitable after receiving €130 million in state aid. Recently, the Air Malta launched a €1.9 million rebranding of Air Malta.

The Air Malta CEO Peter Davies, appointed in 2011 to turnaround the airline's flailing fortunes, receives a €500,000 salary.

In the Sunday Times report, Air Malta said it is "taking the incident very seriously" and is treating the case as "misuse of authority."

However, Azzopardi asked who is being accused of an abuse of authority, since he was a passenger on the mentioned flight.

"Probably the pilot was not even aware that I was one of the passengers he was asked to wait for. The pilot was informed by Air Malta's Italian agents to wait for a few passengers," adding that this situation is completely normal.

He insisted it was "normal procedure" for pilots to delay take-off for passengers who are late or lost at the airport, pointing out that flights were often delayed for such reasons.

Azzopardi added that on numerous occasions flights are delayed in order to wait for MEPs, Malta's former EU permanent representative and the Prime Minister, among others.

Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
renato valente
Franco Debono ta l'Air Malta dan kemm ihobb jidher u xeba paroli fil vojt ...abbuzajt mill pozzizjoni sur azzopardi so shut up and face the music !!!!
Beppe Zammit
ghal li jista' jkun, ma kienx hemm Joe Muscat fuq dik it-titjira hux????....mur gibhom fil-gvern daw'
john gatt
@ AirMalta pilots & cabin crew Oqghodu attenti minn dan is- serp ta purser fostkhom Michael Pule. Dan ghalieh il-partit jigi l- ewwel u biex jintghogob lest li jirrapporta lill kollegi tieghu ta fhema differenti.Ghandu hdura kbira lejn kull min hu laburist, basta jilghabha tal qaddis, ipokrita mill kbar. Thallux lill xi bahnan jaqsamkhom, kull min jipprova jghamel dan insemmuh b ismu. Hemm ohrajn dalwaqt insemmuhom ukoll.
john gatt
Social boycott ghandkhom bzonn tghamlulu lill dak il-purser li jilghabha ta qaddis u ghadda informazzjoni mhux ezatta lill management ta l-airmalta u lill daphne caruana galizia biex ihammeg lill Domenik ghall skopijiet partiggjani. Kif seta ikun jaf x`sar fic check in desk minn fuq l-ajruplan dan? Shame on you, oqghodu attenti minn dak il qarghi.Issa dan il- bniedem li il-pioti kollha saru jafu min hu kif ser ikollu il wicc jiffaccjhom fuq il- post tax xoghol?
GRACE PAVIA
This is manifestly clear to any unbiased observer, a case of character assassination and pay back no matter what PN/KM apologists say. But it is to be expected, although, unfortunately, it will reflect badly on KM's managerial authorities. I must admit to being surprised that it might have emanated from LAF. I never expected it from him! After all, waiting a while for stranded passengers constitutes good customer service, if allowed for emergencies and not taken as standard, irrespective of who the delayed passengers might be. At the end of the day, it comes across as a pathetic attempt by KM's Board and political masters to try shift attention from those huge losses and other non delivered service providers concessions to something small but politically attractive for small minded sympathisers. Spin at its best.
godwin mallia
@ Domenik Taf lill xi hadd M.P. li kien ghamel buzullotta fuq il-flight tal papa minn Malta? Hemm hafna spjuni tal partit nazzjonalista jigru mas saqajn, sirna qisu stat komunista.
godwin mallia
@ Domenik Taf lill xi hadd M.P. li kien ghamel buzullotta fuq il-flight tal papa minn Malta? Hemm hafna spjuni tal partit nazzjonalista jigru mas saqajn, sirna qisu stat komunista.
godwin mallia
@ Domenik Taf lill xi hadd M.P. li kien ghamel buzullotta fuq il-flight tal papa minn Malta? Hemm hafna spjuni tal partit nazzjonalista jigru mas saqajn, sirna qisu stat komunista.
Victor Formosa
I never dared go late through check-in because that's they way it should be and I was pretty sure Air Malta would not have waited for me anyway. But then I'm no pilot and president of the Pilots' Association to boot.
joseph busuttil
If he deseves a punshment no problem adobt the same punishment which was given to (in those days he was MIA Boss) when he forgot his passport and he went for it at home with us waiting for him over an hour! So Domnick if you are guilty and get the same punishment you should be """SCOTT FREE"""!!!
michael sant
Lanqas li s-sur Azzopardi twieled il-bierah !!! Ma setax jobsor li ghax qed jiggieled ghad-drittijiet tieghu u ta' shabu, gonzipn u x-xibka tal-hazen u ta' allejati ohra ta' strada san pawl il-belt kienu se johorgu ghalih daqs li kieku ghandu l-pesta? Possibbli ma basarx li xi hadd fil-gholi kien se jordna biex jibdew il-vendikazzjonijiet kontrih? Tghid issa ma ndumux naqraw gimgha shiha fuq dik it-tilqita ta' gazzetta dwar dan l-episodju? Ara meta kien jaghmilha tlett darbiet fix-xahar guido demarco fi zmienu, dak ma kienx jimporta imma llum inbidlu l-affarijiet !!! Issa ibqa' cert li anki s-sahhara tal-bidnija kienet qed tharbex xi hnizrija dalghodu dwar dan l-episodju biex thalltu mal-vomtu tas-soltu !!!
joe xerri
Aqraw dan l- artiklu ta taht l- ahwa, ahna min min berbaq il- miljuni jinteressana umhux ic centezmi!!! http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120819/opinion/Facts-about-the-RJ-aircraft.433420
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