Air Malta’s request for a court to briefly stop industrial action by the airline’s pilots was upheld on Monday, after the pilots began their industrial action at midnight.
As a result of the industrial action, several flights were delayed by half an hour, and due to the court’s decision, the industrial action was eventually abandoned.
The pilots’ anger reportedly arose due to their collective agreement not being respected, and also because of the government’s recent decision to agree with Ryanair in order to create a new airline, Malta Air, which will be Air Malta’s main competitor, with it taking control over the Irish company’s flights to-and-from Malta.
Pilots are also demanding that since the government is the airline’s shareholder, it should guarantee that pilots would get an early retirement scheme of just under €700,000 if they retire once they are aged 55, even if the airline closes down. However, the government has labelled these claims as ‘ridiculous’, with the current Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi, saying that such demands will not be ‘entertained’ by the government. Mizzi also added that whilst the government is fully committed to making Air Malta as much of a success as possible, it “will not be giving out any gifts to the company’s detriment.”
Early morning flights to places such as Amsterdam, London and Rome, were all delayed by 30 minutes on Monday, as representatives of ALPA (Airline Pilots Association), the pilots’ union, agreed to call industrial action.
Air Malta “expressed its disappointment” in ALPA, after the union threatened with industrial action, during the busiest time of the year for the tourism industry in Malta. After the court’s intervention, Air Malta said that it would be computing the negative effects caused by the action and would seek to make up such damages from pilots.