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Captain to learn fate ‘after festive season’

Pilot union president being investigated over plane delay

Domenic Azzopardi has denied being late for an Air Malta flight. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Domenic Azzopardi has denied being late for an Air Malta flight. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

An Air Malta inquiry has not yet determined whether pilot union president Domenic Azzopardi was responsible for a 30-minute flight delay last July.

“The board of inquiry set up to investigate this case has met. The next meeting is scheduled to be held after the festive season,” an Air Malta spokesman told The Times.

The inquiry is expected to determine who was responsible for the delay of flight KM629 from Milan to Malta on July 27.

Reports had suggested that the pilot on duty waited for Captain Azzopardi and his three family members, who boarded late after a private holiday. Capt. Azzopardi, who is president of the airline pilots’ union Alpa, had vehemently denied being late for the flight, insisting “there was a problem with security”.

In October, Air Malta CEO Peter Davies quashed rumours the probe had been abandoned to secure a deal on a new collective agreement with pilots.

In an interview with The Sunday Times he had said: “It’s just a process we’re going through. We’ll get to the bottom of that and Domenic (Azzopardi) will have his opportunity to explain the circumstances, as indeed would other people, about why that particular aircraft was delayed.”

He added that two “independent” people had been appointed to review the case, one chosen by Air Malta and another by Alpa. Air Malta finalised its negotiations with the pilots in September but when asked if the investigation had been delayed to ensure the deal would be signed, Mr Davies had said: “Absolutely not. If I felt that it was appropriate to make a decision at the time I would have done. It has nothing to do with the collective agreement.”

Mr Davies had also denied reports that action against Capt. Azzopardi was somehow time-barred.

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