The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) has called on Malta’s national airline and ALPA, the pilot’s union, to “align their efforts and energies” and place the needs of the country and the economy before their personal disagreements.
MHRA warned that not doing so would undo decades of investment by the Maltese taxpayer and government.
“The continuous battles between ALPA and Air Malta management are now seriously jeopardizing every effort the government is carrying out to reignite the economy,” the MHRA said.
Air Malta and ALPA have had an ongoing and bitter public battle over various issues, from work conditions to salaries among other things. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated certain issues.
“MHRA recognizes and salutes the efforts and sacrifices which the majority of the Air Malta employees, similarly to those employed by its members, are currently experiencing. MHRA asserts that cost-cutting measures introduced by management across the travel, hospitality and tourism sector at a global level have not been motivated by profitability goals but rather by efforts to survive this crisis,” they continued.
Without saying who was right or wrong, MHRA pleaded with the two sides to “realize that shooting at each other’s foot will only aggravate matters, not only for Air Malta but more significantly for the thousands of employees and operators whose livelihoods depend upon the travel, hospitality and tourism sector”.
“MHRA remarks that ALPA cannot pretend to be treated by exception and that all stakeholders are expected to share the burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said.
He ended by saying that now was the “moment of truth” for Air Malta to live up to expectations and support the economy recover… otherwise, “the reason for having a national airline is extinguished”.