Operational fault with leased aircraft delays Air Malta flights

The airline said the aircraft had been leased because delivery of a ninth aircraft was delayed by the leasing company

Air Malta's KM116 to Gatwick has been delayed by over 13 hours
Air Malta's KM116 to Gatwick has been delayed by over 13 hours

Air Malta has confirmed that its KM116 flight to London Gatwick has been delayed by more than 13 hours due to an operational fault with the aircraft meant to be operating the flight.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the airline said that the aircraft was scheduled to depart at 8:40am, but had encountered a fault shortly before take off.

Air Malta said that its customers had been accommodated in nearby hotels and had been offered refreshments in line with the delay's duration. 

"The flight was scheduled to be operated by a wet leased aircraft which was brought in to help with the increased flight schedule currently being operated by the airline," it said. "The short-term wet lease of this aircraft was necessary due to the fact that the delivery of the 9th aircraft was delayed by the leasing company."

It added that such wet leases were necessary until the two new aircraft secured by Air Malta are delivered by suppliers.

"Wet leasing aircraft is an industry standard when dealing with increased operational requirements and unexpected aircraft delays and is done by all international airlines on a regular basis," added Air Malta.

Sources who spoke with MaltaToday said the delays were caused by a confluence of factors including the leased aircraft's crew having exceeded their maximum flying hours. The aircraft was also the cause of a further two delays over the past 24 hours.

It advised passengers that the delays could impact other flights, while apologising for any inconvenience caused.

PN Statement

Following the delay, the Nationalist Party released a statement saying that the wet-leasing of aircraft by Air Malta was done in a hurry and with lack of coordination with foreign company, Getjet Airlines.

The PN expressed solidarity with those affected by the delay and said that despite agreeing with efforts to expand and strengthen the airline, such efforts should be done with coordination and professionalism as to ensure that the good reputation that the airline enjoys is not tarnished.

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