Talks between Air Malta, pilots association remain at a standstill

Government studying the national airline’s proposed business plan

Talks between national airline Air Malta and pilots’ association ALPA are at a standstill as the government is studying the proposed business plan.

ALPA president Dominic Azzopardi confirmed that no progress was registered, when contacted by MaltaToday.

Sources have told the newspaper that Air Malta “is playing for time” whilst government analyses the proposals for the airline’s business plan.

In an official statement, ALPA said Air Malta has postponed the talks by several weeks despite giving the impression that it was ready to put forward concrete proposals.

ALPA reiterated that the pilots’ main issue was not with the salaries but the guarantee that they will not lose their job. A second point was that new conditions imposed would not be at the detriment of the pilots’ health of the passengers’ security.

“ALPA will not accept redundancies or reduced conditions,” the association said.

The Ministry for Tourism has confirmed with MaltaToday that Air Malta is current debts amount to €66 million.

“This negative equity is the consequence of the accumulated losses made by the airline in the past years,” a spokesperson for Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said. 

The ministry has told MaltaToday that reducing losses was not enough, warning that a deal with a strategic partner will only be done if government’s objectives for the airline are reached.

“To survive, the airline needs to aim to grow and return to profitability and we believe that the best way to achieve this is to enter into a strategic partnership with a bigger airline which would help us increase revenues and reduce costs through economies of scale we do not enjoy at the moment as a small standalone airline,” the spokesperson added.

Air Malta and ALPA have gone to court as the national airline tried to stop the pilots from launching any industrial actions.

The court ordered both parties to make a fresh attempt to resolve the issue and scheduled a sitting for this purpose on Friday, 29 July. Both parties are to report on the progress of talks.

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