Update: Air Malta overbooking on Verona flight resulted after passengers refused €200 compensation

An Air Malta flight that was scheduled to depart at 13.00 to Villafranca in Italy, has been indefinitely delayed after it was discovered that more passengers alighted the aircraft than should have.

Angry passengers told MaltaToday that they overheard senior Air Malta staff allow four extra passengers to embark onto the plane, in clear breach of civil aviation regulations.

Sources have told MaltaToday that the matter has caused anger and confusion at the airport. The airplane has since been left parked on the apron at MIA as no solution has been found yet to accommodate the extra passengers.

All passengers have reportedly been asked to disembark and return to the airport terminal, causing further confusion and disruption to other travellers who are meant to return to Malta later in the day with the same flight from Villafranca.

In a reaction, issued at 5:55pm, Air Malta said that its flight to Verona that was scheduled to depart at 1pm was delayed by about 90 minutes "due to an overbooking situation".

The airline said that on 11 August 2010, Air Malta anticipated an overbooking situation on flight KM 658 to Verona. "Through its International call centre, a number of passengers booked on this flight were contacted and offered them 'voluntary denied board compensation'. Passengers were selected according to a standard process as per normal procedures in such cases."

Air Malta offered passengers the sum of €200 each in cash plus re-routing via Rome on the same day. "None of the people contacted accepted the offer. The check-in process was carried out as per usual practice, on first-come-first-served basis and Air Malta confirms that the total number of boarding passes issued tallied with the aircraft seat capacity."

A total of 14 passengers were denied boarding. "They have been re-routed today on other Air Malta flights through one of its European gateways and given compensation on the basis of the EU Directive related to Denied Boarding Compensation," Air Malta said.

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Nanette Carbone
@ Richard Chetcuti ... and what has MIA got to do with this? airlines manage their own booking systems. No airport operator can interfere in the way an airline does its business... Indeed, some people should just refrain from shooting their mouth off.
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Richard Chetcuti overbooking is a standard practice by all airlines because normally there is always someone, usually more than one passenger, for various reasons not turning up. In this case everyone wanted to turn up and they did.
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Martin Scicluna
Do they know what they are doing? M I A Knows the situation or M I A getting tired