Air Malta pilots’ association denies demanding €50,000 wage increase

National airline and ALPA remain at loggerheads over delays in finalizing a new collective agreement as association threatens to escalate industrial action, including delaying of flights or withdrawal of services

The Airline Pilots Association has refuted reports that it is demanding a €50,000 yearly increase in the wages of Air Malta’s pilots.

The remarks by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) were made in the wake of a report by the Sunday Times of Malta, which reported Air Malta pilots each wants an increase of €50,000 want an increase in their take-home pay to put on them on part with their counterparts at Alitalia.

The newspaper reports that the new financial package demanded by ALPA would see the national airline’s expenditure on pilot wages alone increase to €17 million, up by €6 million. It reported that Air Malta’s 122 pilots each take home an average of €93,000 per year.

However, in a statement, ALPA denied the claims, arguing that the report quotes “factually incorrect figures, including the pilot count, thus misleading general public with incorrect data.”

ALPA and the national airline’s management remain at loggerheads over delays in finalizing a new collective agreement. Pilots have, since last Sunday, gone to work without wearing their caps and jackets, and the pilots’ association may now escalate the industrial action, including delaying flights or suspending the service altogether in the summer months, unless its claims for better conditions are met.

92% of ALPA members recently voted of allowing the executive committee to proceed with any industrial action it deems necessary, including the withdrawal of services, ALPA president Dominic Azzopardi told MaltaToday.

“We could escalate the industrial action to that level, but before that we could consider other actions, such as delaying flights, work to rule or other actions,” he said.

An internal risk assessment carried out by the airline has revealed that further industrial action by the pilots' association could, at worst, cost Air Malta as much as €575,000 a day, the Malta Independent on Sunday reported.

Talks over a new collective agreement between ALPA and Air Malta have been delayed as the national airline continues to thrash out an agreement with Alitalia.

The Italian national airline will take a 49% stake in Air Malta and will benefit from a forthcoming €400 million investment at Alitalia, as well as from its vast network and airport slots.

Alitalia forms part of the satellite of airlines owned by Abu Dhabi based airline Etihad Airways, which has been in advanced talks with government over an equity investment in the ailing Air Malta since November 2015 as revealed by MaltaToday.

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