Finance Minister set to inform unions on the future of Air Malta later this week.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana is due to consult unions on the future of Air Malta later this week, as discussions with the European Commission over a State assistance package look to have concluded.

Minister Caruana has called a meeting of the four unions represented at Air Malta on Friday. The agenda has not been released, but it is believed that the minister would provide specifics of the negotiations with the commission.

For over a year, the government has been in negotiations with the European Commission to seek permission for a State aid package for the national airline in the aftermath of huge losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID pandemic took a heavy toll on Air Malta, and the government is seeking permission from the European Commission to provide financial assistance.

According to reports, the government planned to invest €290 million in the struggling airline, although Caruana never acknowledged the figure. well-versed According to sources, the commission has only agreed to approve a portion of the amount recommended by the administration.

So far, Minister Caruana has refused to confirm or refute accusations that the commission only approved a reduced sum of State help. Minister Caruana informed Parliament last November that the state airline had spent €435 million in the previous 15 years. He stated that the limited gains produced over the years were the consequence of sold assets and that this was not sustainable. Any sort of government assistance would have to be accompanied by a reform programme. A similar package negotiated with the Commission in 2012 for Air Malta resulted in job layoffs and fewer routes.

Nationalist Party demands that Air Malta be given clear direction

The Nationalist Party (PN) has urged the government to be transparent about the situation at the national airline. “The government’s silence and concealment instead of conversation have now reached enormous absurdity,” said Dr Mario DeMarco, shadow minister for finance.

According to the PN, the government has excluded everyone from the process of rescuing Air Malta. “The PN stands in complete sympathy with employees who have been kept in the dark.” The party also stated that Prime Minister Dr. Robert Abela should not postpone government decisions until after the upcoming election. “The Opposition calls on the Finance Minister to refer as quickly as possible to Parliament on the situation,” the PN added.