Thursday, December 14, 2017

Air Malta to hive off London slots in 1Q18

Air Malta will transfer its slots at London-Heathrow and London-Gatwick to a recently established government-owned company by the end of first quarter of 2018, Chairman C. Mangion has said.

"This will allow us to raise funds through our own assets as we can no longer receive any state aid. It will also ensure that these invaluable assets always remain part of Malta's national assets," he was quoted by MaltaToday.

The Maltese state-owned airline is barred from receiving any more government funding as per EU laws. EU regulations allow companies to access state aid once every ten years. In Air Malta's case, it received EUR130 million in government funding back in 2011.

The holding firm company that will assume control of the slots will be fully independent of the airline and will retain them, Mangion underlined.

A separate government-owned company will also take over the ground handling unit at 
Malta IAP from the airline, Tourism Minister K. Mizzi announced. This takeover should also be concluded in the first quarter of 2018.

The divestment should help the airline return to profitability. It also plans to expand its no-frills Go Light fares and gradually switch to a LCC type business model to increase its competitiveness. (Source: ch-aviation.com, 13-Dec-2017)