Air Malta concluded (25-Aug-2012) negotiations with Airline Pilots' Association (ALPA). The carrier said "after long but productive discussions Air Malta and ALPA concluded negotiations early this morning on a new 4-year collective agreement commencing 01-Jan-2012." The agreement covers conditions and pay and meets the requirements of the airline's restructuring plan, which it has been implementing since Nov-2011. The restructuring includes EUR130 million in aid from the Maltese Government, capacity reductions, rebranding and cost saving strategies. The carrier previously reached agreements on the plan with the General Workers Union and unions representing cabin crew and engineers. [more - original PR]
Air Malta reaches agreement with pilots' union
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Air Malta Part 2: cannot match LCC unit costs; Alitalia not about to invest.
Part 1 of this report on Air Malta analysed its network, capacity development, codeshare partnerships and the competitive landscape in its markets. This second part looks at its financial track record and the development of its shrinking fleet and its financial track record. It also presents an estimate of Air Malta's unit cost position and the outlook in the aftermath of the Alitalia talks.
Air Malta's majority owner, the Maltese government, initiated a search for private investors in the loss making national airline in 2015. In Apr-2016 Alitalia signed an MoU with the government over the possible acquisition of up to 49% of Air Malta, but the two airlines announced on 13-Jan-2017 that talks had ended. It seems that the financial and political risks have prevented the investment from proceeding, particularly as Alitalia is wrestling with its own restructuring.
Its unit cost is efficient compared with European legacy airlines, but remains higher than the level of the LCCs with which it competes. Its short haul, non premium, point-to-point product has little with which to differentiate itself.
Air Malta has struggled to compete profitably and has reported several years of losses. A new plan is needed, and this may include a search for an alternative investor.
Air Malta Part 1: no longer the biggest airline in Malta as it struggles with rising LCC competition
On 13-Jan-2017 Alitalia and Air Malta jointly announced that the two had ended talks about a possible investment by the Italian airline in its Maltese counterpart. This throws the spotlight once more on Air Malta's struggle for viability in an increasingly competitive market.
In 2016 Air Malta cut its seat capacity by 12% and reduced its fleet by two, to eight aircraft. Having discontinued its North Africa routes, it is a Europe-only airline with no long haul network, focusing on point to point routes. A series of codeshares, including a new agreement with Alitalia, provide it with offline only access to long haul destinations.
Air Malta's highly seasonal and strongly leisure focused network is facing growing competition from LCCs. Indeed, its 2016 contraction coincided with expansion by Ryanair, which is now the biggest airline by seats to/from Malta. Modest capacity expansion is currently scheduled for 2017, but this is based on fewer routes, with more frequencies to partner hub airports.