Nationalist Party calls for wide consultation on future of Air Malta

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The Nationalist Party is calling on the government to launch a wide consultation process with the opposition as well as with all parties concerned on changes that will have a “fundamental impact on the future of Air Malta and the way it operates.”

This comes following reports made by local media indicating that the government is preparing plans related to the future of Air Malta, including substantial changes in the way the company operates.

In a statement, PN MP spokesperson for finance Mario de Marco, said that the Nationalist party maintains its position in favour of all necessary aid in order to save the National airline.

“Air Malta is an integral part of the reasons for our country’s success in the field of tourism over the years. It offers crucial accessibility to our country and is also important in the field of financial services and specialised cargo delivery,” de Marco said.

He added that Air Malta does not only offer a direct living to the employees who work with the airline, but it also offers an indirect living to thousands of workers who depend on tourism and financial services for their livelihood. 

De Marco said that back in 2012, the Nationalist party in government consulted with all those involved before taking any decisions.

Such a moment is truly the time for the government to move away from words and focus on the facts that go beyond the continual discourse of “national unity” and a “government that listens,” de Marco said.

Reports by Maltatoday read that the local airline has had its brand name ‘sold’ to the Maltese government for €21 million. The ‘Air Malta’ brand was removed and acquired by the government-owned company IP Holding. It was also reported that this forms part of a series of actions designed to break down Air Malta’s assets to be sold back to government for a much-needed injection.

Times of Malta also reported that Malta has now asked the European Commission for permission to pump €290 million into Air Malta in the hopes of obtaining the financial means to keep Air Malta going. 

A few weeks ago, The Malta Independent spoke to Minister for Finance Clyde Caruana who stated that Air Malta was finalising a second attempt with the European Commission to allow state aid.

In November 2020, the government had already applied for state aid from the European Commission in view of the losses incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the European Commission requested additional information. For this reason, the government had to formalise and resubmit a second proposal.

Earlier this month, Minister Caruana had said that Air Malta is experiencing losses of over €170,000 daily just to keep aircraft operations going.

Caruana had also added that state aid for the local airline just for the year 2021 would need to run into ‘tens of millions’ of euro. He warned that if the European Commission does not allow state aid, the airline would only have “a few weeks to live” before running out of money.

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