Air Malta reform details expected end of December

Air Malta reform details expected end of December

Concrete details about Air Malta’s restructuring exercise are not expected to emerge till the end of December.

The steering committee charged with overseeing the airline’s restructuring met for the first time on Friday but no concrete proposals for reform were put forward by government’s consultants, according to sources.

After the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, none of the committee members wanted to comment on the proceedings and details on the terms of reference agreed were released by the Department of Information.

Unions are expected to get wind of the first proposals to trim staff, routes and the fleet by the end of next month, in time for government to present a draft programme of reform to the EU Commission in January.

The government has until May 15 to finalise a restructuring exercise, which is one of the conditions attached to the Commission’s approval earlier this month of €52 million in emergency aid to Air Malta.

So far, members of the steering committee – made up of the four unions at Air Malta, the Finance Minister, government consultants and the opposition – have only been given a picture of the airline’s precarious financial situation.

No details have emerged of the presentation given by the consultants and all parties are keeping their cards close to their chest, something which is irking employees who anxiously await news of their fate.

Losses for the current financial year which ends in March 2011 are expected to be higher than the €31 million registered this year.

In agreeing on its terms of reference, the committee on Friday tasked the airline’s management with analysing the size of the airline’s fleet and assessing which routes to keep. The company must also determine adequate staffing and skills levels.

The management is expected to draw up a plan to improve the company’s commercial operations through a strategic analysis of the markets in which it operates.

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