Air Malta Restructuring Date Extended

The target date for the completion of Air Malta’s restructuring plan has been extended to the end of the month as the “sensitivity” of the task made it more difficult to meet the early January deadline, reported. The government had set itself the ambitious target of having the plan in place by early January for submission to the European Commission, but this has now been pushed back by a few weeks. Despite this, the government is still well ahead of its EU deadline for the plan and there will be ample time to discuss the reform programme with the European Commission. If the Commission is not satisfied with the plan, it can pull the plug on the urgent rescue aid it granted Air Malta, which suffered losses of €31 million in 2009 and is expected to go deeper in the red in 2010. The restructuring plan is one of the conditions attached to the Commission’s approval of €52 million in emergency aid to keep the national airline afloat. No details have yet emerged on the plan of action, but The Sunday Times reported in November that Air Malta could not survive unless it shed staff and “Brussels would never permit state aid to subsidise unproductive jobs”. Read more.