Updated | Crew sickness causes Air Malta flight delays

Air Malta has said that crew members and their replacement reported sick, causing flight delays that have cost the airline more than €85,000

Air Malta had to wet lease an aircraft after crew on the Moscow flight reported sick
Air Malta had to wet lease an aircraft after crew on the Moscow flight reported sick

A 10-hour delay on Air Malta’s flight to Moscow was caused after crew members reported sick, the airline said on Wednesday. 

Flight KM560/1 from Malta to Moscow on Tuesday evening was delayed by 10 hours 30 minutes after the crew who had to operate the flight reported sick.

The airline said the next standby crew was called in but the co-pilot also reported sick, leaving the company with no option but to delay the flight.

Air Malta said it had to wait for a leased aircraft to be flown to Malta to rectify the situation.

“To minimise disruptions to its customers, the airline has today wet leased an Airbus A321 to operate KM 100/1 from Malta to London in order to facilitate the delayed flight to Moscow,” the airline said.

Air Malta said a number of other flights were also delayed today with delays ranging from 20 minutes to one hour.

“The estimated cost of this disruption is over €85,000,” Air Malta said, as it apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers.

A similar incident happened last September when a flight to Paris Orly Airport was cancelled after pilots called in sick.

Air Malta can’t claim delay was unforeseen – ALPA

Reacting to Air Malta’s statement, ALPA, the pilots union, said Air Malta outright blaming the delay on pilots sickness was inexplicable.

“The flight crew member originally scheduled to operate the flight has been on extended sick leave for close to a month,” the union said. “Air Malta management cannot hide behind the excuse that this was unforeseen.”

ALPA said that shortly before the flight, Air Malta placed two captains on duty together “only for the crew to realise during their briefing, just prior to the scheduled departure, that the weather in Moscow was such that for operational reasons, the flight could not be operated with two captains”.

ALPA reiterated that the delay was “purely a result of Air Malta's crisis management and could have been completely avoided through adequate planning”.

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