Claims of crew delaying flight to buy flowers is a “smoke screen”

Malta International Airport plc

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The claim that had appeared in local media stating that AirMalta crew operating from Amsterdam delayed the flight to be able to buy flower is a “smokescreen”. This was stated by the Airline Pilots Association – Malta (ALPA) in a press release.

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Following investigations done by the pilots association, it transpired that the Amsterdam flight was deliberately delayed. This so that the crew could also operate the Palermo flight after its pilot was transferred onto the Catania flight.

The original Palermo pilot had to work the Catania flight as the scheduled Catania pilot did not have the minimum legal rest time from his previous flight.

It also seems to be common practice that AirMalta management delays flights so that crew are able to get their minimum legal rest periods.

According to ALPA there is mismanagement within the higher echelons of the airline company. These shortcomings are creating a number of inconveniences for the passengers as well as financial losses for the company.

ALPA members have been prevented from using their 2018 vacation leave entitlement. They are also working at the limits of what is legally permitted.

AirMalta does not have enough pilots, and whilst ALPA welcomes the airline training schemes and possible recruitment campaign it is disappointed that its proposal for an increase in human resources was ignored during the new collective agreement negotiations.

Air Malta reacts

In a statement Air Malta said that it was saddened by the behaviour of some members of the pilot community.

It claimed that most of the cockpit crew has the airline at heart and behaves professionally. Air Malta added that the alleged behaviour of some members was unacceptable, saying that some 13 pilots reported sick and this has constrained operations. According to the national airline company the number is unprecedented.

Air Malta complained that a disproportionate amount of management time is used to address industrial disputes which it described as “unreasonable”.