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Long-running negotiations between the Maltese Government and the European Commission over the future of Air Malta are “at an advanced stage” and will “soon begin seeing their conclusions”, according to Finance Minister Clyde Caruana.

The negotiations had kicked off back in 2020 when the Government sought the Commission’s approval to pump €290 million into the airline. Air Malta had been posting large operational losses for years, only turning a rare profit when selling major assets like landing rights at London Heathrow and its own brand.

Although that proposal was turned down, talks continued in an attempt to find a resolution for what has long been a money-pit – albeit a strategically important one.

The Minister, whose remit also includes the national airline, told Times of Malta that the Government has “always insisted” on the need for Malta to have its own carrier, due to the geographic constraints of being an island.

There have been reports – including from Air Malta’s own chairman, David Curmi – that the most likely outcome was for the airline to fold and a new national carrier to take its place.

Now, Minister Caruana has gone record expressing his confidence that the negotiations will conclude with an agreement, although details will be kept under wraps until the deal is done and dusted.

“We have to arrive at a situation where the country must continue to have a national airline, especially since the country is an island,” Minister Caruana said, adding that the parties are close to putting ink to paper on a new deal.

“If we were not coming to an agreement, it would not have taken all these months,” said the Minster.

“Negotiations have advanced a lot, and soon we will begin seeing their conclusions, and once they are concluded, I have no difficulty in making public whatever is decided.”

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