Responding to unspecified media statements, assumed to be allegations of its “baffling” sponsorship of the Malta Film Awards, Air Malta has flatly rejected that it provided financial support to any local events or organisations during the past year.
The statement seems to be in response to a column carried in Times of Malta in which the author accused the Malta Film Awards and the executives and politicians involved in it of waste.
The article points to the heavy usage of billboards to promote the event, “bafflingly sponsored by Air Malta, even though the airline is bust and is kicking out its workers.”
This is a reference to the airline’s recently unveiled restructuring plan – a last-ditch effort to pull it from the brink of financial collapse – in part by massively decreasing its staff headcount.
Air Malta is, indeed, included in the Partners and Sponsors category of the Malta Film Awards website, although the exact nature of its partnership or sponsorship specified.
According to Monday’s clarification by the airline, however, any sponsorship was not financial, and it has not provided “any outgoing monetary funds nor payments as part of any sponsorship agreement” in the last year, to any local organisation or event.
As the national flag carrier, however, the airline acknowledged that it has “on occasions” provide associations, event organisers and NGOs with airline seats (excluding taxes and charges), on flights not expected to be filled.
In return, the airline said it gets support to grow awareness of its brand, flight schedule and network.
The statement comes in the wake of the highly controversial film awards, which were boycotted by frontrunners in several categories – frustrated at the extravagance of the event when compared to the funding given to local projects.
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