Scores of passengers were stranded in Madrid for 24 hours after an Air Malta flight was repeatedly delayed by technical issues.
The flight is expected back on Thursday evening . Another flight, departing Malta for Gatwick has suffered a delay of over nine hours as a consequence.
Passengers on the Madrid flight told Times of Malta that Air Malta flight KM587 from Madrid was meant to leave Spain at 11.50am on Wednesday. They were initially told that the flight was being delayed by two hours.
When the two hours were almost up, they were informed that the flight was cancelled and they were taken to a nearby hotel for the night. They were also given vouchers to purchase food.
The passengers were then told that the return flight to Malta was planned for 4.30am on Thursday but then they received calls in their hotel room that the flight was once again postponed to 2.30pm.
At 11am on Thursday, the passengers received an email informing them that the flight had been moved to 4.30pm but while they were in the hotel lobby waiting for the shuttle bus to the airport, they were again told that the flight was being postponed. No new departure date or time was given.
“We’re here waiting and we have no clue what’s happening,” one passenger said. Another added that he was meant to return to work on Thursday after a week abroad but had to apply for emergency leave due to the situation. “I cannot be here forever. And we do not even know what’s happening,” he said.
When contacted, Air Malta said the flight from Madrid is expected to arrive at 7pm on Thursday having been delayed by technical issues.
"Air Malta’s flight KM 116/7 Malta - London Gatwick – Malta of today has been delayed due to operational reasons. The aircraft, scheduled to operate this flight, is currently being serviced in Madrid following technical issues, the airline said.
As a consequence of this delay, KM 116/7 (to Gatwick) had suffered a delay of over nine hours, the arline said.
It apologised for the inconvenience.
"The airline gives utmost importance to the safety and well-being of its clients and staff and is sparing no effort to minimise the inconvenience to its guests due to circumstances beyond its control," it said.