Air Malta chairperson ‘asked to resign’

Airline sources said that Air Malta chairperson Maria Micallef was “asked to leave” in light of the change in the government's new strategy for the national airline

Maria Micallef was appointed chairperson of Air Malta in 2014
Maria Micallef was appointed chairperson of Air Malta in 2014

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has made his mark on a new plan to turn around Air Malta's fortunes, by asking chairperson Maria Micallef to resign.

Industry sources told MaltaToday that Micallef’s resignation was “in line” with the new vision for the airline. She was appointed to the post three years ago.

Contacted by MaltaToday, Micallef chose not to comment.

“I have no comment to make at this stage,” she said, when asked to comment about her departure from the airline.

However, the well-informed sources insisted that the government had already accepted her resignation.

It is as yet unclear whom the government plans to appoint as the new chairperson, but airline sources said that Micallef was “asked to leave” in light of the change in strategy.

Micallef was appointed chairperson of the airline in 2014, having spent 15 years occupying various senior positions within the Mizzi Organisation. Throughout this period, she served as General Manager of General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd.

She was also the first woman appointed as member on the European Technical Council of The Coca Cola Company to travel widely across several countries, advising cross functional teams.

Mizzi, appointed minister for tourism following the June general election, has on several occasions hinted at significant changes in the restructuring of the airline – especially one that would see Air Malta start making money.

MaltaToday has already reported that Mizzi planned to hive off Air Malta’s landing rights into a new company – a sign of how Mizzi plans to do things differently from his predecessor, Edward Zammit Lewis.
Landing rights in airports that are already at over-capacity, such as London Heathrow, are crucial gains for airlines seeking slots for profitable routes.
Air Malta’s take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, the world’s second-busiest international airport and the main access point for the British economy, come with price-tags as high as €70 million for a pair. The price itself reflects capacity constraints at Heathrow.

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