The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Updated: ALPA ‘concerned’ about Air Malta’s comments in court on safety; airline replies

Saturday, 4 July 2020, 17:35 Last update: about 30 days ago

The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) said today it is particularly concerned by the testimony delivered by Air Malta’s Chief Human Resources Officer, James Genovese, during the hearing held before the First Hall of the Civil Court on 26 June 2020 in relation to ALPA’s request for the issue of a Warrant of Prohibitory Injunction against the company.

Genovese is on record as having alleged that safety issues may arise in the cockpit when two captains are scheduled to operate the same flight. It is common practice for airlines to employ a crew complement of approximately the same number of captains and first officers.


Notwithstanding, Air Malta’s flights will now have to be manned solely and exclusively by the captains retained in employment, in view of its decision to terminate the employment of all its first officers, ALPA said.

Moreover, ALPA noted that to date, Air Malta’s operations manuals and training programmes, which are approved by the authorities in their entirety, have not been amended to cater for an operation consisting entirely of captains. This, in itself, gives rise to various concerns, especially in light of the comments made by Genovese, ALPA said.

In view of the above, ALPA has formally requested the company to provide clarification of the statements made by Genovese with immediate effect.

The association has also formally called on the company to forward a risk assessment related to the change in crew complement. This risk assessment was to be carried out with due diligence before the said action and is mandated by European Aviation Regulations. The assessment should have ensured that there exist no unacceptable risks which could jeopardise the health or the wellbeing of its members.

ALPA said it has also informed the company that it will be taking all necessary measures in order to ensure that its members are not exposed to any unnecessary risks during the daily operation of its aircraft.

Air Malta  calls on ALPA to stop its disruptive attitude

In reply, Air Malta noted that while it is doing its utmost to re-establish operations in these testing times to support the nation and safeguard as many jobs of its employees (including the pilots) as possible, the pilot’s Union continues to jeopardize the airline’s recovery by distorting the truth with misleading statements.

There is absolutely no safety issue with two captains flying together, this is in fact also approved by the regulator and clearly defined by the policy and procedures of how a pilot is designated as Commander when two Captains fly together. The security issue mentioned by ALPA is a total distortion of the truth from people who should know better.

Air Malta called onto ALPA to stop with this disruptive attitude and let the company’s pilots do their work without undue pressures. Air Malta will make use of all available tools to continue to operate even with ALPA's attitude that will ultimately hurt first and foremost their members.

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