Air Malta aircraft shortage, not staff issues, leads to Easter weekend delays

Withdrawal of aircraft from fleet will lead to knock-on effect on the rest of the flying programme for summer, with 155 weekly return flights to 23 destinations

Air Malta was hit by a shortage of one aircraft duing its peak Easter weekend, which resulted in significant delays to its Zurich service on Easter Sunday, 9 April, as well as its Rome and Brussels flights on Easter Monday, and London Gatwick on Tuesday 11 April.

Air Malta said in a statement it was not possbile for the airline to source a replacement aircraft from elsewhere, at such short timescales.

Air Malta’s 2023 Summer schedule is designed to operate with eight aircraft units, all of which are fully crewed with the required number of pilots and cabin crew.

But the airline currently has one of its own aircraft in heavy maintenance through until mid-May 2023. “Air Malta has planned to take delivery of two A320neo aircraft in early 2023. During this transition period of aircraft moving in and out of its fleet, it has been necessary to wet-lease two alternative aircraft to cover the scheduled flying. One of these wet-leased aircraft experienced a technical issue on the morning of Sunday 9th April, which resulted in it being withdrawn from service,” the airline said.

During summer, Air Malta will operate a very intense and expanded flying programme of 155 weekly return direct services to 23 destinations.

“The withdrawal of an aircraft from the fleet for any period of time will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the flying programme. At no point in time were the disruptions over Easter caused by either a shortage of pilots or cabin crew as reported in certain sections of the media.

“Air Malta has the correct flight deck and cabin crew complement to operate its entire Summer 2023 programme. Air Malta would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to its customers during this very busy holiday period and is working hard to rectify the situation.”