Can Air Malta be saved?

The national airline for Malta has been in trouble for many years. Its lacklustre financial performance over the years revealed the unsustainability of its business model, with losses being registered constantly. One of the reasons associated with Air Malta’s failure in achieving a sustainable business model is the amount of employees on the company’s payroll. The common perception locally is that Air Malta was always used as a means for political favours, where people were given jobs freely.

Apart from being the national airline, Air Malta plays an important role to facilitate connectivity to the island. This is one of the reasons why significant efforts are being spearheaded to save the airline. Following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the problems which were already evident when the economy was thriving, major decisions are now long overdue.

Clyde Caruana Photo Credit : Jonathan Borg

Over the past days, it was announced that Air Malta’s workforce will be reduced by half. This forms part of an extensive cost-cutting exercise, in a bid to save the airline. This announcement was made by Clyde Caruana, the finance minister of Malta.

The plan includes shrinking the working staff from eight hundred and ninety employees to four hundred and twenty. This measure is expected to save Air Malta fifteen million Euro a year. The impacted employees will be offered other jobs, with the government.

This strategy forms part of a bigger plan where baggage and ground handling services are expected to be scrapped. Routes to locations that do not yield profit to the airline carrier will be cut.

The finance minister stated that this plan needs to be taken seriously as it may be Air Malta’s last chance. The strategy is part of a four-year plan which is set to take place even if no state aid is offered. Funds from the European Commission are not expected to be significant in view that its recommendation would be to close the airline and open another company. The finance minister went on to add that the case for Air Malta was made with the European Commission, highlighting a fighting chance to steer the company away from bankruptcy. During 2021, the government asked for aid, a sum of two hundred and ninety million Euro. The request was not accepted and Malta was asked to request a figure which is more realistic. Faith is lost in Air Malta due to a number of promises which have not been honoured.

What do you make about the airline’s survival chances? Do you think it can be saved? Let us know your thoughts about the future of Air Malta in the comments section below.

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