Regrettable that Air Malta isn’t taking the same approach as majority of airlines – ECA

Air Malta planes

It is regrettable that Air Malta isn’t taking the same approach as the majority of European airlines, according to the European Cockpit Association (ECA).

The ECA, which represents 40,000 European pilots, sent a letter addressed to PM Robert Abela in which it stated that it is deeply concerned about the decision of Air Malta to dismiss 108 pilots due to the Covid-19 crisis.

“In Europe, the majority of the airlines, including the airline group of Air Malta’s direct competitor in the island, have reached job retention agreements with their pilots to ensure that they will be ready to take their duties as soon as the operations resume. The agreements ensure that pilots will receive between 55 and up to 90% of their current pay during the crisis. We regret that Air Malta has not taken a similar approach towards its employees.

“It is deplorable that an airline which provides a strategic service to the country by ensuring its connectivity fails to protect its workforce during the crisis. Air Malta’s pilots form the backbone of the airline’s operations and deliver high skill value sets ranging from flying the aircraft to maintaining highly specific administrative and technical jobs and undertaking various high value training programmes. Air Malta’s pilots have trained numerous airline pilots around the globe, whilst ensuring an impeccable safety record,” said the ECA.

The association requested that the Maltese government ensures that Air Malta guarantees a fair percentage of the salaries of its pilots during the coronavirus crisis.

ECA said that laying off pilots goes against the EU’s collective efforts to ensure that the highest level of employment is maintained and compromises the reprisal of the activity in the future.

The Malta Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) said that Air Malta’s CEO, Mr. Clifford Chetcuti has only been quoted as offering a 70% cut which leaves him with a take-home pay in excess of €90,000 whilst his employees have been forced to accept a €1200 monthly salary without even guaranteeing them their job security. ALPA is still insisting on a fair, across the board, percentage cut.

The Forum Unions Maltin is urging Prime Minister Robert Abela to intervene in the situation that is escalating between the Maltese National Airline, AirMalta and Union representing the Cabin Crew, UCC.

In a statement issued on Monday, the For.U.M. said that this it is the time to safeguard the jobs of its employees and now that the UCC has accepted the agreement with the airline, AirMalta should act responsibly and implement the proposed conditions.

More details soon