Air Malta has veered off the rescue plan agreed with the EU and is struggling to close the year with a loss of some €16 million rather than breaking even, chairwoman Maria Micallef has confirmed.

In a wide-ranging interview today Ms Micallef blames the slide on increased competition last summer but also on the Libyan crisis, which cost the airline an estimated €1million after the Tripoli route was shut.

However, she also expressed “shock” at the fact there had been no proper transition between former CEO Peter Davies and his successor Louis Giordimaina, and several other key officials who were replaced over the past year or so.

“I inherited a structure with no management... Yes, I know, it is shocking but I cannot answer for the past. What I can do is look at the future,” she says.

Mr Giordimaina himself left the airline last month in a surprise resignation after just eight months. Ms Micallef insisted it was news to her that he left because of differences of opinion with her, saying he assured her “more than once” that he was stepping down for personal reasons.

However, she did not deny the board was looking into suing him for breach of contract.

“The airline, through the board of directors, will make sure that what is contractually due to the airline will be safeguarded... My job might not be an easy one at times but I am there to safeguard the interests of the company,” she says.

Watch excerpts of the interview above. Read the whole interview in The Sunday Times of Malta.

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