Air Malta to publish financial results in ‘coming four to five weeks’

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi hinted at ‘surprises’ while noting said that revenue from the sale of the airline’s slots had been reinvested and not used on operational expenses

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said Air Malta would be publishing its financial results in four to five weeks
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said Air Malta would be publishing its financial results in four to five weeks

Air Malta’s financial results for the year ending March 2018 will be published “in the coming four to five weeks”, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said on Monday.

Speaking during question time in parliament, the minister, responding to a question by Nationalist Party MP Claudio Grech, said that after publishing the 2017 results “some weeks ago”, the 2018 results were expected by the end of April.

Mizzi said that the airline’s auditors had said that the results were good “from the operational side”, adding that Air Malta would be presenting an operational profit-and-loss for 2018.

“I am not going to say anymore but there might be surprises,” the minister said.

Grech also asked the minister if he could tell parliament whether Air Malta’s Heathrow and Gatwick landing slots had been sold the new government company Med Air.

Mizzi confirmed that the transfer had taken place, adding that Air Malta’s management had given clear direction stating that the revenue should not be burnt on operations, and was instead reinvested. 

He pointed out that yesterday, Air Malta had opened a new integrated control centre and would investing in engineering and other “core capabilities”.

“At some point we will have to discuss whether there is scope for another capital injection,” Mizzi added. 

“On our part, we are trying to ensure that growth is sustainable and that the company can remain afloat.”

Mizzi also said that Air Malta was working to address pending “industrial relations issues”, noting that while new collective agreements had been signed, there were still differences of interpretation on certain clauses.  

Air Malta must be positioned as a premium brand

Mizzi said that for Air Malta to become the airline of the Mediterranean, a way needed to be found of allowing it to co-exist with low cost airlines operating into and out of Malta.

The airline, he said, needed to have a defined market and needed to position itself as a premium brand, offering customers routes that were not serviced by low-cost airlines.

Mizzi said Air Malta also needed to focus on its business class passengers, given that this would set the airline apart from other carriers which did not offer this option.

Air Malta would be taking delivery of another aircraft and planned to change its entire fleet to A320 Neo, which was significantly more efficient than the aircraft in the present fleet.

Airbus helicopter likely to be used for Malta-Gozo link

Asked by Nationalist MP Jason Azzoaprdi about plans to have a helicopter link between Malta and Gozo, Mizzi said it had been decided that Med Air would create a subsidiary for this purpose.

He said that the feasibility and general way forward was being examined by economist Gordon Cordina, who was currently finalizing a report.

Med Air, he said would be choosing one of two Airbus helicopter models- an eight-seat helicopter and sixteen-seat helicopter. 

Asked by Azzopardi to specify how contact was made with Airbus, and whether the helicopters would be purchased through a public call, Mizzi said that at this stage, Airbus was helping the government select the model most suited to its needs.

Once the model is chosen, he said that a public call would be issued in order to find the most advantages lessor.

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