Updated 11.15am, adds Josianne Cutajar statement

Air Malta has transferred six flights scheduled to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to Rotterdam because of the situation affecting ground service capabilities at the Dutch airport, the airline said on Friday.

Rotterdam Airport is the closest airport to Amsterdam.

The requirement to cancel flights and reduce seat capacity in Amsterdam in July has been enforced on all airlines by the Netherlands slot coordinator. 

Air Malta's decision to operate to Rotterdam instead was taken to reduce passenger inconvenience and disruptions as much as possible, it said.

The affected Air Malta flights are KM386/387 operating on Mondays and Wednesdays afternoon from July 11 to 27.

Air Malta customers who booked directly with the airline to travel to and from Amsterdam on July 11, 13, 18, 20, 25 and 27 are currently being notified of the change by e-mail.

Customers who booked through travel agents or tour operators may contact their travel agent for further details.

The replacement Rotterdam services will operate on Mondays and Wednesdays.

On Mondays, the flight will leave Malta at 12.40pm, arriving in Rotterdam at 3.50pm and leaving Rotterdam at 4.50pm, arriving in Malta at 7.50pm.

On Wednesdays, the flight will leave Malta at 3.25pm, arriving in Rotterdam at 6.35pm and leave Rotterdam at 7.40pm, arriving in Malta at 10.40pm.

Air Malta apologised for the disruptions caused by circumstances beyond its control, and which have been forced onto airlines operating from Schiphol Airport.

Josianne Cutajar seeks European action

Meanwhile, MEP Josianne Cutajar has asked the European Commission to take action regarding the challenges facing the air travel industry.

She noted that the situation that has developed in the last few weeks, with an increasing number of passengers experiencing a significant increase in ticket prices as well as long delays, lost luggage and last-minute cancellations, is worrying.

This, she pointed out, was happening at a time when a sharp increase in travel demand was being experienced and workers in the sector were fewer than before the pandemic hit.

“This scenario poses several risks in relation to consumer protection, workers’ rights and the discouragement of tourists, which might also jeopardise the competitiveness of Europe as a tourist destination,” Cutajar said.

She asked the Commission how it was engaging with stakeholders in the field, to address such a scenario, also in preparation for any future shocks, and whether a contingency plan is being drafted.

She also asked the Commission to plan ahead when it came to the protection of passengers from remote areas, including islands, which are at a geographical disadvantage when it comes to travel options.

“These areas are also facing high ticket prices, and given that islanders depend upon air travel, this hampers their right to free movement even more,” Cutajar said.

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