The Malta Independent 18 October 2021, Monday

Updated: Air Malta lawyer says airline will go bust unless agreement with Alitalia reached

Mathias Mallia Friday, 22 July 2016, 08:31 Last update: about 6 years ago

A court heard this morning that Air Malta's negotiations with Alitalia must be concluded by the end of October for the national airline to keep operating.

Air Malta is in talks with Alitalia for the sale of 49% of its shares. 

Lawyer Aaron Galea Cavallazzi, who appeared for the airline before Mr Justice Silvio Meli, gave this warning during proceedings to prevent the pilots' union ALPA from taking industrial action against the airline.

Both parties agreed to renew attempts at finding common ground. They will meet again this Wednesday and then report to the court during the next sitting on 29 July.

Dr Galea Cavallazzi said that the current situation is leaving the company in a “vulnerable” state and industrial action could threaten the company’s future. Air Malta stated that the company did respect the right for industrial action, however this was not the time for such a step. The court heard that Air Malta is currently about €66 million under.

ALPA’s lawyer, Dr Edward Gatt, said that claims against the union were unfair and that the pilots’ industrial action threats have been “amplified” beyond reasonable proportion.

Mr Justice Meli subsequently warned both parties of the potential dire consequences of an escalation of the disagreement.

In comments to the media after the case, Dr Gatt said that “in the spirit of cooperation to reach an eventual agreement, we will give no comments on what is to be discussed.” There will be statements released to let the public know of the progress of the negotiations in time.

Dr Gatt also explained that the warrant of prohibitory injunction is still in force after both parties agreed on it in order to reach a common solution. 

Earlier this morning, before the sitting, some pilots gathered for the sitting in Valletta with placards explaining their position.

The two parties resorted to court action in a bid to break the deadlock.

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