MALTA- The government is set to introduce the new airline as a replacement for Air Malta (KM) on Monday, following extensive and at times challenging negotiations with the European Commission.
Insiders familiar with the airline’s plans indicated that the transition from Air Malta to the new entity will be nearly seamless for passengers.
New KM Malta Airlines
There will be no disruptions to flight schedules, the airline will maintain the same number of aircraft, and the airline’s name will remain unchanged. The existing workforce is also expected to be retained, although employees may undergo a process to integrate into the new airline.
Further details will be provided during a news conference by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana on Monday.
After months of negotiations, discussions with the EU have concluded in recent weeks, and the European Commission has rejected the Maltese government’s request for State aid to support the struggling national airline.
According to EU regulations, member states are required to obtain approval from the European Commission before providing financial assistance to companies.
Two years ago, Malta sought permission from Brussels to inject €290 million into the airline as a final effort to rescue it. This proposal outlined a five-year State aid financing plan aimed at transforming the company into a sustainable and profitable enterprise.
The new company will be named KM Malta Airlines plc, and changes to Air Malta’s aircraft livery are expected. Additionally, adjustments are anticipated in the frequent flyer program.
However, Air Malta Chairman David Curmi recently stated that the European Commission favored a model similar to Italy’s, where an agreement was reached to shut down its national carrier, Alitalia, and establish a new national airline called ITA.
The company will be rebranded as KM Malta Airlines plc, and there are anticipated changes to Air Malta’s aircraft livery. Adjustments are also expected in the frequent flyer program.
Discussions with trade unions appear to be nearing a conclusion, and there has been positive feedback regarding the way forward, although specific details remain limited.
In late August, the pilots’ union held a meeting with the government to discuss the new working conditions.
The airline has been experiencing significant losses, which were exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact on air travel. In 2021, it was reported that the national carrier was incurring daily losses of over €170,000 just to operate its aircraft.
Further information regarding the economic model of the new airline is anticipated to be disclosed on Monday.
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