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[WATCH] Air Malta and engineers sign collective agreement

Air Malta must now sign agreements with pilots and cabin crew by its December deadline • Airline to add 1,400 flights in 2018 • Smaller aircraft being considered once again for shorter routes

yannick_pace
Yannick Pace
24 November 2017, 12:16pm
Representatives of the Association of Airline Engineers signed a new collective agreement with the national airline
Representatives of the Association of Airline Engineers signed a new collective agreement with the national airline
The Association of Airline Engineers has signed a collective agreement with Air Malta that will govern working conditions for the airline's engineers for the next five years. 

Addressing a press conference before the signing of the agreement, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said that the agreement would offer stability over the next five years and allow the section to focus on its operations.

He said that aircraft line maintenance would remain a part of the airline's operations, allowing Air Malta to keep up its punctuality record.

The collectrive agreement is one of four the airline has to sign. Other agreements have to be reached by the end of the year with the Association of Airline Pilots, the Union of Cabin Crew and the General Workers' Union.

Minister Konrad Mizzi (second from right) said Air Malta would increase 1,400 flights next year
Minister Konrad Mizzi (second from right) said Air Malta would increase 1,400 flights next year
The minister said the airline was now looking to the coming year as one that could provide the necessary growth.

"Growth means our fixed costs can be spread over more plans, lowering the cost per flight," said Mizzi, adding that it had been decided that Air Malta would add 1,400 flights to it's schedule in 2018.

He said the airline would be adding a new A320 aircraft by April, and was also studying the possibility of utilising smaller aircraft to service shorter routes. 

Mizzi insisted that once Air Malta signed its collective agreements it would have the flexibility to remain solvent and work towards profitability.

With a new agreement signed, he said, the airline and engineering department could now start to consider building a new hangar as well as targeting new niche markets.

Air Malta chairman Charles Mangion said he was honoured to be signing what he described as a landmark agreement. He added that the agreement showed the extent to which the airline appreciated its employees and that it would offer better conditions to engineers while also ensuring flexibility for the company.

Charles Azzopardi from the engineers' union said he was satisfied that the engineering department was being considered as essential to Air Malta's future plans.

Speaking on behalf of the negotiating team, president emeritus George Abela noted the quality of engineers employed by Air Malta.

"This group of professionals are unique in the country," he said, adding that company had done well to invest in them and to ensure they are a key part of its operations.

Abela also expressed optimism at the "new direction taken by the company since June" when it chose growth as the way forward.

yannick_pace
Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...