The Malta Independent 25 April 2019, Thursday

Air Malta paid its €15m fuel bill after its AGM – government sources

Rachel Attard & David Lindsay Sunday, 14 April 2019, 09:30 Last update: about 9 days ago

Air Malta paid its €15 million fuel bill to Enemed only after it had held its Annual General Meeting and drafted its annual accounts, government sources informed The Malta Independent on Sunday.

Last month, Tourism and Air Malta Minister Konrad Mizzi had triumphantly announced that the airline had turned a €10.8 million deficit registered at the end of March 2017 into a profit of €1.2 million in year ending March 2018.

But since the airline, according to this newspaper’s well-informed government sources, had paid its dues to the parastatal fuel supplier only after announcing its massive turnaround results for the last financial year, it seems the turnaround about which Mizzi spoke was anything but.

Government sources speaking to this newspaper, in fact, were perplexed as to how Minister Mizzi had claimed such a turnaround by the long-suffering national airline.

Asked this week whether Air Malta had paid its dues to Enemed and, if so, when, Energy Minister Joe Mizzi stuck to his line that “commercial information cannot be divulged.”

This newspaper is informed, however, that Minister Joe Mizzi had been somewhat preoccupied by the large outstanding bill and had been pressuring Air Malta to pay up.

And although asked specifically whether Air Malta had paid Enemed for the fuel purchased in 2018, and how much of that may still be pending, his spokesperson was categorically vague, stating: “Enemed can confirm that its airline commercial clients are adhering to the payment terms stipulated in the respective contracts.”

Konrad Mizzi’s spokesperson was similarly vague, but he did say that the airline’s accounts would be published soon.

Mizzi’s office informed The Malta Independent on Sunday:As per normal procedures, I am informed that Air Malta will be filing its Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended March 2018 with the Malta Financial Services Authority and uploading them on its website in the coming days.”

As to what Air Malta has – or hasn’t – paid, the spokesperson said: “Air Malta is keeping to its Enemed credit terms and we are in order in terms of payments.  

“This is a standard arrangement Enemed has with all the airlines that land in Malta.”

Air Malta’s financial year closed on 31 March and Mizzi held the press conference announcing the results on 23 March.

Making matters stranger still, that press conference had diverged from the Air Malta norm, even under the present government, in that there was no detailed presentation – let alone copies – delivered to journalists at the press conference, as has been the practice in past years.

In fact, all the press obtained from the press conference was copies of the speeches delivered by the chairman and the CEO, as well as the airline’s press release.

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