The Malta Independent 25 May 2018, Friday

Discussions on Air Malta collective agreement to resume next week

Gabriel Schembri Monday, 17 July 2017, 18:45 Last update: about 11 months ago

The discussions on the collective agreement with the various unions involved in the national airline will resume next week, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said in parliament this evening.

Replying to multiple parliamentary questions by Nationalist MP Claudio Grech and Mario de Marco, former President George Abela will be mediating the discussion between the management of the national airline and the unions, namely ALPA and the Cabin Crew Union. Minister Mizzi explained that the debate, which will take the form of an "open dialogue," will also involve the work of a technical team from the Ministry of Finance.


"These discussions will go on next week and the objective will be to reach an agreement for the year 2020."

In his intervention, the Minister for Tourism thanked former Air Malta chairperson Maria Micallef and the former Minister for Tourism, Edward Zammit Lewis for their hard work. He explained that the first phase for the restructuring of Air Malta will be based on new routes. Second phase will then be based on new improved services. The national airline is also considering a 'ticket only fare' to compete with low fare airlines. "We will have a profit making company soon", he said convincingly.

PN MP Mario de Marco asked if the discussions with a strategic partner are ongoing or if the airline will reach its intended targets before walking into a partnership. Mizzi said that there are changes which need to be made before partnership talks. "We want to keep the slots as government property and the national airline to operate in key major airports around Europe," he said in the reply.  

"We had a number of proposals from strategic partners around the globe. Some were interesting, others were not."

Claudio Grech said that what Mizzi said was in line with what the PN was proposing for the last couple of years on the airline and so welcomed such initiative. Grech said that Mizzi should now explain the future of the workers and asked if the collective agreement was reached.

Mizzi was also asked to confirm that the Airline does not intend to sell any slots in key airports. He said Heathrow slot will remain government's ownership.

On publication of Air Malta accounts, the Minister said that he will not have any problem making the 2015/16 accounts public once submitted. On job redundancy, Mizzi said the government never said that there will be workers who will be made to leave. Unions had asked for voluntary retirement, he concluded. 

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