There’s been no shortage of complaints about Malta’s national carrier of late, which may not even exist by the end of the year, and while this newsroom sympathises with a deteriorating situation at Air Malta, a sharp increase in prices has made passengers’ patience run thin.

One local resident who was scheduled to travel on board Air Malta flight KM479 from Charles de Gaulle Airport at 10.20am to Malta shared her experience on Thursday morning.

The passenger, a Maltese national who preferred to stay anonymous, vented their frustration at paying €280 each way for a Paris trip with Air Malta, only to be met with a service that was woefully below the standard low-cost offering.

The flight departed at 11:53am, an hour and thirty-three minutes after scheduled departure, which is nothing compared to the 6-hour and 14-hour delays recently experienced.

What irked the passenger in particular was that the delay was not due to some technical fault, but rather the plane was waiting to receive its stock of drinking water for the journey, according to the flight’s captain.

They shared that upon waiting to board the flight, which the passenger woke up at 5.30am for due to Paris’ notorious traffic, ground handlers asked passengers to have their hand luggage checked in due to a lack of space in the overhead bins. The kicker, they say, was that staff wanted passengers to have their hand luggage checked in with their electronics and sensitive documents, not giving them time to remove valuables and other items they may not want to have stored in the cargo hold.

An unfamiliar plane (pictured above) and a last minute gate change only added to passengers’ frustrations, as the passenger stressed that Air Malta flight tickets have easily gone up by 50 per cent when compared to previous years.

Air Malta delays have been widely reported in recent weeks. On Wednesday, the company’s COO attributed the most recent spate of delays to the shortage of aircraft being faced by the aviation industry. The shortage, COO Declan Keller said, was due to technical difficulties emerging from aircraft having remained grounded for so long during the COVID pandemic.

Indeed, a new aircraft purchased by Air Malta is being serviced for a software failure while a wet-leased aircraft had to be grounded last minute due to technical difficulty.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that a government scheme earlier this year for early retirement or voluntary redundancy of Air Malta staff, with the aim to reduce the company’s bloated headcount, cost taxpayers some €60.8 million.

And, while the future of the national carrier hangs in the balance, further passenger frustration at continued disruption only adds fuel to public anger at the handling of Air Malta, which has been in operation for the past 49 years.

Featured Image:

Aircraft used for Air Malta flight KM479 (codeshared flight) from Charles de Gaulle Airport

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