[WATCH] Air Malta records €16.4 million loss

Air Malta registers €16 million loss, plans to bring it down to €4 million by end of European Commission restructuring plan

Air Malta registers €16 million loss, plans to bring it down to €4 million by end restructuring plan

Audited figures announced during today’s Air Malta AGM show that the airline posted a loss of €16.4 million for the year ending March 2015 and is set to reduce its losses to €4 million by 2016.

Now in its fifth year of the European Commission's restructuring plan, the company was supposed to break even and return to profitability by next year.

But an optimistic chairperson Maria Micallef said that in its final year of the European Commission's restructuring plan, the company kept its losses down to €16.4 million despite the closure of the Libya route and a drastic drop in passengers from Russia following the Ukrainian crisis.

Results for the first six months of the current financial year show that the company has increased its profits by €8.7 million when compared to the same period of the previous year. If these results are maintained the airline is in line to reduce its losses to €4 million.

The losses from the Libyan and Russian markets amount to some €10 million but this has been offset by savings in other areas, including fuel costs.

Thanking the board of directors and "most of the company's employees," Micallef underlined the importance of the renegotiation of the catering contract, the sale of Selmun Palace and the rationalisation of its fleet of aircraft.

"Hardheadedness will not get us anywhere," she said in a remark directed at company employees such as the pilots who have been at loggerheads over contractual

Noting the company's "economies of scale disadvantage" she said a strategic alliance would "change all this" adding that Air Malta has the potential to become part of a wider network with the clout to command prices.

"Such an alliance would feed our network and ensure the much required increase in passengers and revenue," she said.

Tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis said the results are "satisfactory" and bode well for the company's future. Thanking all airline workers, the management and the board of directors he said he was confident Air Malta will be back to profitability in the near future.

Underlining the importance of a number of reforms undertaken in the last two years, including the resizing of the company's fleet, Zammit Lewis said "if these reforms were undertaken at an earlier stage the airline would have avoided going through unnecessary pains."

He said Air Malta "must find a strategic partnership with another airline" otherwise it will not be able to get back on its feet and become sustainable.

"We must recapture the market share we have lost to our competitors," Zammit Lewis said, adding that government was "cautious but optimistic" about the company's future.

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