Within five weeks Air Malta through a team of experts will be forwarding a plan to enable the EU Commission to approve the national airline being given State aid to enable it to continue functioning.
Interviewed n the programme “Insights” on Television Malta, Air Malta’s Executive Chairman, David Curmi, said the pandemic has aggravated the financial situation of the burdens of the national airline.
He said that Covid has been a great blow and has required the expenditure of great amounts of cash, much of which has been expended on fixed costs which he approves to be changed to variables. In this manner, expense will be paid when aircraft are in flight and when they are grounded less is expended. When things are going badly it is not possible to bear all the expense.
Asked about current expenses, Curmi said this is reaching €220 million annually and the airline employs 1,000 persons and has to pay annual salaries that reach €50 million. He remarked this employment figure is too high and works out to 130 persons for every aircraft. Consequently, ground handling which is costing €10 million annually will begin to be performed by a third party.
Regarding the road ahead, Curmi said the vaccine passport will prove crucial for the company.
He said this will be the turning point for all future travel and two days ago he had sent an email to MTA to explain the importance of this. The danger lies in that there may be more than one. IATA will initiate a travel pass and trial runs are already underway. However, Air Malta is supporting another EU initiative proposing a more efficient system.
David Curmi confirmed that Air Malta will have a new fleet of aircraft over the next three years. From April onward it is planned there will be 27 flights every week but flights are not being planned for long distance routes such as India and the United States but the plan is that flights to Libya will be renewed.