• Key Points:

  • Air Malta’s transition to the new airline, KM Malta Airlines plc, is anticipated to be smooth for passengers with unchanged flight schedules and staff retention.

  • The EU rejected Malta's plea for a €290 million financial assistance to Air Malta, guiding it towards a model akin to Italy's Alitalia transformation.

  • Comprehensive information about KM Malta Airlines plc, including its economic model, will be disclosed by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana.

KM Malta Airlines plc to Succeed Air Malta; Operations to Remain Consistent

VALETTA —The Maltese government, after extensive and occasionally fraught discussions with the European Commission, is set to unveil the new airline succeeding Air Malta today. Insiders have indicated that the transition is designed to be "virtually undetectable" to passengers. 

The flight schedules will remain consistent, the fleet size will stay the same, and even the airline's branding will not be altered. Furthermore, while the existing workforce will continue, they'll undergo a procedure to assimilate into the revamped airline.

Malta's months-long negotiations with the EU culminated recently when Brussels declined the country's plea for financial support for its beleaguered national carrier. As dictated by European regulations, any EU member nation must secure the European Commission's approval prior to granting financial subsidies.

In a desperate move two years ago, Malta sought Brussels' green light to inject €290 million into Air Malta. The aim was to revitalize the company through a five-year state aid initiative, turning it into a profitable entity. However, echoing the sentiments of Air Malta's chairman, David Curmi, the Commission suggested that Malta should follow the blueprint established by Italy. Italy had shuttered its main airline, Alitalia, and subsequently launched a new national carrier, named ITA.

The successor to Air Malta will be christened KM Malta Airlines plc. This evolution will usher in modifications to the airline's exterior designs and its loyalty rewards program.

Trade union dialogues, crucial for a smooth transition, are reportedly approaching their finale, with preliminary reactions being optimistic, even though the specifics remain somewhat nebulous.

Recapping a late August session with the government, the pilots' union shared insights into the updated working conditions.

Air Malta's financial tribulations, already a pressing concern, were exacerbated due to the pandemic's crippling effect on global travel. Just last year, Minister Caruana had highlighted the staggering €170,000 daily operational losses incurred by the airline.