Air Malta still looking for new CEO

Tourism Minister does not deny Air Malta’s renewed financial turbulence but insists the reported forecast was ‘merely a projection’

National airline Air Malta is still looking for a new chief executive officer after Louis Girodimaina, at the helm for just eight months, tendered his resignation.

Giordimaina’s resignation precedes reports by MaltaToday reporting that Air Malta’s financials may be about to experience renewed turbulence with the departure of the CEO, a trusted government man, under a cloud of €30 million in losses forecast for March 2015.

The figure has not been denied by tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis, who on being stepped up from parliamentary secretary, has seen the departure of Giordimaina, as well as Air Malta chairman Ray Fenech, and that of Malta Tourism Authority chief Josef Formosa Gauci.

Air Malta itself has refused to comment.

Questioned today during the launch of World Tourism Day programme in Valletta, Zammit Lewis told MaltaToday that the reported €30 million loss was “simply a projection”.

“Air Malta’s Annual General Meeting is set to take place next month during which the progress of Air Malta’s restructuring programme and the real forecasts will be made public,” the tourism minister said.

Zammit Lewis said Air Malta was currently “working hard” find a new CEO, strengthen management, cost-cutting and changing revenue models.

“We aim for a stronger Air Malta which is more relevant to Malta’s needs. The solution is not to shield Air Malta but helping it embark on economically viable projects that focus more on the long-term,” he said, pointing towards low-cost airlines that continue to increase their passenger capacity.

In March 2013, the second year of Air Malta’s five-year restructuring, the airline reported an operating loss of €13.7 million, down from €29.7m in 2011.

Chief financial officer Clare Brown has also left her post, five months after her appointment.

In February 2013, Brown was brought in as interim head of financial control, later designated as head of financial ‘transformation’. But following the resignation of Nick Xuereb, the chief financial officer who worked alongside chief executive Peter Davies and chief commercial officer Philip Saunders, Brown was made ‘acting’ CFO. She is believed to have left some time in June-August.

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