Pilots’ 30-minute delay cost Air Malta €250,000

Sources close to the airline told MaltaToday, Monday’s action alone cost Air Malta anywhere between €200,000 and €250,000

The action was suspended yesterday after an injunction filed by Air Malta was temporarily upheld by the court
The action was suspended yesterday after an injunction filed by Air Malta was temporarily upheld by the court

A 30-minute delay on Air Malta flights on Monday caused by pilots’ industrial action has cost Air Malta almost €250,000 in expenses, MaltaToday has learnt.

The national airline’s pilots were instructed by their union to delay flights after registering an industrial dispute.

The action was suspended yesterday after an injunction filed by Air Malta was temporarily upheld by the court.

Sources close to the airline said Monday’s action alone cost the airline anywhere between €200,000 and €250,000. “Although 30 minutes does not appear much, the problem arises when passengers have connecting flights and the airline has to make alternative arrangements.”

The airline is still working out the full cost of the industrial action as it prepares to make its case in court on Friday, the sources added.
“An expense of €300,000 every day as a result of the pilots’ directive would be crippling for the airline,” industry sources pointed out.

For the first time in eight years, Air Malta registered minimal operating profit last year but this could be easily wiped out if industrial action continues.

The Airline Pilots Association has demanded that the government guarantee its €700,000 early retirement scheme at age 55, in the case of the national airline going bankrupt.

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has shot down the request, insisting it went against EU state aid rules.

ALPA yesterday said it will not be “intimidated” by Air Malta after the national airline filed a court injunction to prevent the pilots’ union from taking industrial action.

The court, as is normal, upheld the injunction until the hearing on Friday. The union temporarily withdrew the industrial action until the court ruled on the matter.

ALPA said Air Malta’s action would not detract from its obligations towards its members, as well as its responsibilities to safeguard airline passengers.

The union said it resorted to industrial action in response to the airline management’s “numerous attempts to deploy crew illegally against the stipulated procedures, as well as in response to the company’s persistent failure to address concerns relating to the safety and wellbeing of its members”.

ALPA accused Air Malta of “distorting indisputable facts” as well as “painting a false and unclear picture” of the current state of affairs.

“It is now clear that Air Malta’s management team has decided to resort to half-truths and measures, as well as blatant and capricious lies, in order to cover the ineptitude and mismanagement which has become prevalent within the higher tiers of the company.”

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