Updated | Stranded youth footballers to be brought back on Air Malta ‘relief flight’

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has 'directed' the national airline to reorganize its schedule to ensure that a group of roughly 150 left stranded in Aalborg Denmark manage to get back home • Air Malta suspends employee over involvement in the case

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said he had directed Air Malta to reorganise its schedule and operate a relief flight
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said he had directed Air Malta to reorganise its schedule and operate a relief flight

Air Malta will be operating a special relief flight to bring home a group of 150 people who were left stranded by a private charter operator in Aalborg, Denmark.

Among the 150-person contingent are a number of children from different schools who are representing Malta at an international youth football tournament. 

In a statement on Monday, the Tourism Ministry said that it had been made aware that a group of travellers, mainly children, had been left stranded after “the private charter operator allegedly failed to meet its obligations” and operate the return flight to Malta.    

“Minister Konrad Mizzi has directed Air Malta to operate a relief flight to support the families and children involved,” read the statement.  

“Air Malta commits to doing its utmost to repatriate the group back to Malta in spite of the significant operational challenges faced due to the currently busy summer schedule.”

The flight is scheduled to leave at 6:30pm tonight, Mizzi said, adding that the incident provided further proof that the national airline was important for the country.

In a statement published later in the day, Air Malta confirmed that it would be operating a relief flight to bring the stranded passengers back home.

“Air Malta was not aware of the charter operation until the request for assistance was received,” the airline said, adding that “in collaboration with and as endorsed by The Ministry of Tourism agreed to operate a relief flight to support the families and children involved”.

Air Malta confirmed that the group would be returning to Malta “early tomorrow morning”.  

The airline also said that an employee had been suspended, pending investigation, “once it was brought to the airline’s attention that he could have been potentially involved in the case on a private basis”.

MaltaToday understands that as the airline was making arrangements for the flight, it was made aware that one of its employees had been involved in the setting up the commercial arrangements for the flight, in his personal capacity, and in breach of the airline’s code of conduct for employees.

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