Partit Demokratiku notes with concern the recent problems in scheduling that Airmalta has been experiencing. This has resulted in delays and the cancelling of flights on some prime routes.
Airmalta is not only our national airline, it is also a reflection of the efficiency of the country whose name it bears. By not getting things right and by letting its customers down we are implying that Malta is not capable of doing business properly.
The recent expansion in routes and the reversal of the slow steady decline of the airline can be a good thing but only if things are handled well.
Whilst Air Malta and Minister Konrad Mizzi keep blaming late delivery of the new NEO Airbus for the current situation, any person with a minimum of knowledge of the airline industry would have known of the delays in delivery of this aircraft. It was well reported.
While the delay in delivery is not the fault of the airline or the minister, the lack of foresight when expanding Airmalta’s routes with this knowledge and the handling the situation certainly is.
PD is also concerned regarding the contract for the new planes. Why is it different from the original contract with Aercap which provided the original aircraft? Was it done by direct order, or was there a call for tenders and a bidding process?
PD is suggesting the following measures to mitigate the situation until the aircraft is delivered and the situation is improved.
1. Get the firm dates of when all aircraft on which summer schedule was planned are going to be available.
2. Calculate the time gap and start putting passengers on other airlines from now, advising them days in advance and giving them a choice.
3. Begin a mammoth customer care effort to smooth out things for the passengers.
Air Malta and the Minister of Tourism need to get their act together. Besides the financial cost of compensation for delays and cancellations, there is an unquantifiable cost to our national airline’s and country’s reputation which took years to build, it can only take weeks to destroy.