Labour failed to implement a 2012 state aid restructuring plan for Air Malta and has lost all credibility with the European Commission as a result, the Nationalist Party accused on Friday.

Addressing a press conference after the government announced Air Malta’s workforce would have to be halved for the airline to remain sustainable, shadow finance spokesperson Mario De Marco said it was clear Brussels had lost faith in the government.

De Marco also noted how former minister Konrad Mizzi had claimed in 2019 that Air Malta had returned to profitability.

He accused the government of misleading Air Malta’s workers and the public about the true financial situation of the airline.

“We found out from Clyde Caruana that Air Malta is losing €170,000-a-day,” de Marco said.

He said the tourism industry and the general public would now have to pay for Labour’s poor administration of the airline.

“This is not acceptable," he said.

Tourism spokesperson Robert Arrigo said “five or six” different ministers, each with different strategies, had been in charge of Air Malta since 2013.

“One wanted Air Malta to fly to America, another to Asia… There was a whole confusion about the direction,” Arrigo said.

He said the entire tourism industry would now have to pay for the government’s incompetence.

Arrigo said a PN government would offer a credible alternative to the way Air Malta is presently being managed.

PN candidate Ivan Castillo said certain workers had built an entire career out of working for Air Malta, and now the government would wipe away everything they had built due to its mistakes and lack of decisions.

Castillo expressed his hope that the reassignment process for workers set to lose their jobs with the airline would be a fair one.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us