Whatever the circumstances, Air Malta is committed to operating 82 flights a week to 15 destinations in Europe in the coming months. This despite the fact that the winter schedule announced by the national airline includes almost twice as many flights.
The national airline has launched the winter flight schedule, Business Guaranteed, with 156 flights per week. Air Malta is guaranteeing to fly to 15 out of 21 destinations, regardless of how the situation regarding Covid-19 develops.
The Minister for the Economy, Silvio Schembri, said that this guarantee offered reassurance and peace of mind to those who choose to travel with Air Malta – i.e that flights continue to operate even with a few passengers on board.
He said so far 74% of passenger requests had been processed to recover payment for flights canceled due to Covid. He explained that these amount to 164,000 requests with a value of € 16 million. He added that the 58,000 pending claims will be closed in November and explained that the process took a long time because it transpired that some people had made more than one claim for the same flight.
He confirmed that the government had finalized a request to the European Commission to be able to help Air Malta financially due to the burdens that Covid-19 had created on the company’s sustainability.
The Minister said that “you could say that most of the countries are assisting the airlines operating in their country and we will fully assist our national airline.”
The Chairman of Air Malta, Charles Mangion, said that the company had carried out crucial work in recent months by carrying medical goods and supplies and has carried out more than 500 repatriation flights carrying 13,000 passengers. He said the winter schedule is 45% less than last year’s winter schedule.
“We have taken risks, certainly we have taken a risk but Air Malta still wants to create, maintain and sustain creativity because the country needs it and I think we are serving the people in this regard as well, we have taken a calculated risk, “said the Air Malta Chairman.
Air Malta’s Chief Commrrcial Officer, Paul Sies,said that he was hopeful that Air Malta would cope even during these challenging times. “If the situation improves, then we believe that we’ll have people coming to Malta for a weekend break, a very good example, till last week, until yesterday, the Swiss Market was red coded but overnight it has become orange,” said Mr Sies.
Asked about the appointment of a new Chief Executive following the resignation of Captain Clifford Chetcuti, Minister Silvio Schembri said that there were more than 200 people who applied after the first public call for this post which he said was currently being evaluated and analyzed.