[WATCH] Air Malta not out of the woods yet, Economy Minister says

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri says Air Malta still faces a number of challenges • Government wants airline to expand and diversify

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri (centre) with Air Malta CEO Clifford Chetcuti (left) with airline chairman Charles Mangion looking on from behind. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri (centre) with Air Malta CEO Clifford Chetcuti (left) with airline chairman Charles Mangion looking on from behind. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Air Malta is on the right track but it faces a number of challenges, new Economy Minister Silvio Schembri has said.

“The government has laid out strong foundations, but the airline is not out of the woods yet,” Schembri said on a visit to the airline’s head office.

Air Malta falls under Schembri’s wing after a change in portfolios saw responsibility for the national carrier shift to the economy ministry from tourism.

“Today’s visit shows that Air Malta will not be secondary to our work,” Schembri said, underscoring the importance government attaches to the airline.

He said the investment in Air Malta will continue.

“It is our obligation to ensure that the airline continues to be successful,” he added.

In 2018, Air Malta registered a profit of €1.2 million.

Asked what the airline’s financial situation is expected to look like for 2019, the minister and airline chairman Charles Mangion, said the audited accounts had not yet been released and so could not yet comment.

Schembri said the government wanted Air Malta to expand and diversify. “This is not just a normal company that opens and closes, but one that holds economic and social importance to the country,” he added.

Mangion welcomed the minister’s interest in the airline, stating that the company must continue reinventing itself.

“The airline industry is a very competitive one, therefore we must ensure that we continue growing and improving Air Malta,” he said.

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