Air Malta obtains replacement for leased aircraft following complaints

Airline bemoans “alarmist reports” in the press regarding delays

Air Malta has obtained a replacement from its lessor for an aircraft it had been wet-leasing, following complaints
Air Malta has obtained a replacement from its lessor for an aircraft it had been wet-leasing, following complaints

Air Malta said today that, in light of recent complaints, it requested that the aircraft the airline had been wet-leasing in the short-term be replaced by another aircraft from its lessor.

It was yesterday reported that the KM116 flight from to London Gatwick was delayed for more than 13 hours due to an operations fault on the aircraft meant to be operating the flight. The aircraft - reported in the media as being an almost three-decade-old Boeing 737-400 - was being wet-leased in the short-term until two new aircraft are delivered to the airline.

“As from today another aircraft has been delivered to Air Malta by the lessor and this aircraft has this morning started operating Air Malta flights,” the airline said in a press release, without giving details on the aircraft's model and age.

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Operational fault with leased aircraft delays Air Malta flights

“The airline demands high standards throughout all its operations and does not leave any stone unturned to assist passengers. Although being EASA certified, in light recent complaints Air Malta has insisted with its lessor to change the wet-leased aircraft. As from today another aircraft has been delivered to Air Malta by the lessor and this aircraft has this morning started operating Air Malta flights,” it said.

"Air Malta leases its aircraft from IATA Operational Safety Audit certified leasing companies and all aircraft that operate Air Malta’s schedule adhere to the strict IOSA quality audits. The IOSA program is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline." 

While it emphasised that it was never happy with delays and did its utmost to minimise inconveniences in such cases, the airline said “certain alarmist reports” in the local press” regarding the delays in recent days were “factually incorrect and intended to do unnecessary damage to the good reputation of the airline”.

“Safety is the topmost priority for Air Malta and this has, is and will never be jeopardised. The airline runs a complex operation with over 250 flights a week. It is true that unfortunately, in these last few days, the airline has suffered delays, some of which has had a snowball effect on other flights,” it stressed, “Some of the delays were of a technical nature during which the aircraft needed to be checked and signed off by the airline’s engineers before flying.”

“Other delays, were operational in nature, including yesterday’s 14 hour delay to London Gatwick.”

"Coincidentally some of the delayed flights were operated by a wet-leased aircraft which was brought in to help with the increased flight schedule currently being operated by the airline."

"The short-term wet lease of this aircraft was necessary due to the fact that the delivery of the ninth aircraft was delayed by the leasing company by a few weeks."

Air Malta added that it expected “true and fair reporting” and appealed to the “editorial responsibility of every news outlet, especially when airline safety is concerned.”

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