PN says government lost all credibility on Air Malta: 'Workers are now paying the ultimate price'

Nationalist MP Mario De Marco says government lied when in 2019 it said Air Malta had become profitable again

From left to right: Ivan Castillo, Robert Arrigo and Mario De Marco
From left to right: Ivan Castillo, Robert Arrigo and Mario De Marco

The Nationalist Party said the government lost its credibility on Air Malta and that the workers will now pay the price for the all the wrong decisions taken on the airline.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana announced Air Malta’s workforce will be halved under plans to make the airline financially viable, as the government awaits the final amount of state aid Brussels will allow.

In a press conference on Friday afternoon PN MP Mario De Marco said the 2012 Air Malta restructuring plan had been approved by the European Commission and permitted Air Malta to become sustainable again. He remarked how according to Caruana, the EC no longer trusts the Maltese government.

"Former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi had said in 2019 that Air Malta had become profitable again but now we know through minister Caruana that Air Malta is losing €170,000 a week. This means the Labour government lied," De Marco stated.

De Marco also remarked that Minister Caruana did not say whether the new plan has been approved the EC. “All he said was that the EC wanted Air Malta’s operations ceased.”

He emphasised the workers and the tourism industry will now pay for the mistakes made by the government.

Deputy leader Robert Arrigo remarked how in eight years, Air Malta was administered by five different ministers, who according to him lead to total confusion. “We spoke many times in Parliament on the dire situation of Air Malta but the government kept on spending money recklessly.” 

Asked whether the PN agrees with the restructuring plan unveiled today, Arrigo rejected the idea that this was an actual plan. "Sacking half of the workers and axing half of the routes, is no plan at all."

PN candidate Ivan Castillo said the promises made by government with regards to Air Malta were “empty propaganda”. “Thanks to irresponsible decisions taken by the Labour party, the workers are now paying the price.”