The Maltese national carrier Air Malta based at Luqa, announced that it has cut 69 pilots from its 333 employees. This announcement came after weeks of negotiations that initiated in early April, when Air Malta had announced plans to cut 108 pilots and 139 of its cabin crew.
In response to Air Malta’s decision, Airline Pilots Association-Malta (ALPA) obtain a warrant of prohibitory injunction against the airline, temporarily blocking the terminations from being brought into effect. However, when questioned on these redundancies, the Prime Minister stated that the decision on Air Malta had been taken, and he would not back down on it.
The COVID-19 crisis presented challenging times for the airline as tourism was brought to a standstill. Initial attempts by the company to safeguard these redundancies by offering pilots a stay at home financial package of €1200 a month was turned down by the pilot’s union.
The Economy Ministry said that talks had broken down after ALPA demanded a €73 million early retirement guarantee for its members. This sum was derived from clauses in the pilot’s collective agreement that included the right to a sum of 700 hundred thousand euro if one retires at age 55.
ALPA took this matter to court only to have the court ruling in late June that Air Malta could proceed with the redundancies. Following the court’s decision Air Malta’s officials informed ALPA that the airline was withdrawing its offer to continue negotiations. Pilots were expected to vote in an imminent meeting, on a final proposal which saw cockpit crew accepting to take a significant wage cuts until 2023, as long as all pilots would keep their jobs.