The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Air Malta state-aid delayed as EC 'perhaps' asking Malta for more information than others - Caruana

Janet Fenech Wednesday, 20 October 2021, 13:55 Last update: about 2 months ago

Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana on Wednesday said that discussions for European Commission state-aid for Air Malta have been delayed for so long because the EU commission is “perhaps asking Malta for more information than other countries.”

The government had applied to the European Commission in October 2020 to provide state aid in view of the losses incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but unlike several other EU countries, the Maltese government was asked for more information regarding Air Malta’s specific case.

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“These discussions have been on-going for a long time since the EU commission is analysing every fair rate, expense, profit, for each and every Air Malta flight for the duration of the pandemic that we have asked to be financially compensated for,” said Caruana.

“Their method is very technical; the process is immensely labour intensive that involves very long spreadsheets,” he added.

“We are obliged to respond with all the information they asked for,” noted Caruana.

Speaking to newspaper Illum, Caruana recently said Air Malta is expected to register between €25 to €30 million in losses next year.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the national airline, like many others within the aviation sector, experienced an enormous negative impact as national governments across the EU imposed a number of travel restrictions to limit the spread of the Coronavirus.

When speaking to Illum, Caruana had said that the removal of flights “which did not make sense” has helped to cut costs but that the problem has not been eliminated completely.

“There is still a lot of work to be done,” he added.

“One of my biggest headaches is this company, because Air Malta’s situation is what it is, and a lot of work still needs to be carried out,” Caruana said.

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