PN calls for wider consultation on Air Malta before 'substantial' changes take place

The Nationalist Party says the Opposition and other stakeholders should be consulted before changes are made to Air Malta operations in the wake of government's State aid application with the European Commission

Government is seeking permission to use State aid to shore up Air Malta
Government is seeking permission to use State aid to shore up Air Malta

The Nationalist Party has called on the government to consult the Opposition and other stakeholders before making “substantial” changes to Air Malta's operations.

The party was reacting to reports that the government has asked the European Commission for permission to pump €290 million into Air Malta in yet another last-ditch attempt to save the ailing airline.

MaltaToday earlier reported that government paid the national airline €21 million to acquire the ‘Air Malta’ name. Like other airlines, the national carrier took a battering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government suggested a five-year state aid financing plan which it said would help turn Air Malta into a sustainable, profit-making enterprise.

The PN said it was in favour of all necessary aid in order to save the national airline, citing that it was an integral part of Malta’s success in the field of tourism.

“It also offers crucial accessibility to our country, also important in the field of financial services and specialised cargo delivery,” the PN said.

The PN said in 2012, the Nationalist government had consulted widely with all involved before making decisions on an impending cash injection to save the airline. The EU had approved a State aid package that came with conditions that saw the airline cut routes, planes and jobs.

The PN said the government must move beyond rhetoric and prove it is willing to listen to the public.