DALLAS – The Maltese government has announced that Air Malta (KM) will cut half of its workforce as part of a new cost-cutting plan at the airline. The finance minister announced the government’s plan to prevent KM from going belly up.

According to the Times of Malta, the government plans to cut the number of KM employees from 890 to 420. The government should offer alternative jobs to the workers who will no longer be at the airline.

As part of the cost-cutting process, all baggage and ground handling services will be suppressed. Moreover, unprofitable routes will be cut. According to the Maltese news outlet, the number of routes was already halved last year, from 40 to 20, among which were Malaga (AGP), Casablanca (CMN), and Cagliari (CAG).

The government also canceled previous plans to expand by adding long-haul flights to the US and Asia. They managed to cancel to change the order with Airbus, buying medium-haul jets instead. New plans for the government are to expand in Europe. Flights between two different European countries and the creation of a base abroad are some of the plans for KM’s future. Moreover, the airline will focus on the charter business, which is more profitable for KM.

Most of the jobs will be cut before the summer, with a new Voluntary Employee Transfer Scheme starting on Monday. More than 100 employees will have new jobs with the government by March. Overall, the minister declared that the cost-cutting plan should save the airline €15m a year.

Air Malta operates 9 A320ceo and neo aircraft. Photo: Julian Schöpfer/Airways

Government, Executive Statements

Clyde Caruana, the Maltese minister of finance, declared: “We have to be serious about this plan,” as “it could very well be Air Malta’s last chance.” The government tried to help KM financially, but it had trouble with the European Commission. Today, financial aid is still under negotiation.

David Curmi, KM’s executive chairman, said the plan will “need more flexibility from airline employees.” Moreover, the airline needs some work practices for pilots and cabin crew to change in order to be profitable. There are only 62 pilots at KM left, down from 131 before COVID entered the scene.

We now have to wait in order to see if this cost-cutting plan is successful. The year 2022 will really be decisive for KM, especially in the summer, as Malta is a summer destination for tourists.

Featured image: Air Malta also operates new A320neo aircraft. Photo: Roberto Leiro/Airways