Air Malta flights will be delayed by half an hour as from midnight, following directives issued by the Airlines Pilots’ Association (ALPA).
ALPA is demanding that the government guarantee their early retirement scheme, which allows them to retire at 55 and pocket €700,000, MaltaToday has reported.
The pilots are reportedly concerned that the recent launch of Ryanair subsidiary Malta Air has threatened Air Malta and want the government to guarantee that their early retirement scheme will not be lost.
However, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has blasted ALPA’s demands as “ridiculous”.
“Pilots ordered industrial action to delay flights as from midnight,” Mizzi tweeted. “Government will NOT bow to pressure and provide ridiculous guarantees on Early Retirement Schemes.”
Earlier, he warned that ALPA’s demands will breach EU state aid rules, which forbid governments from providing companies with unfair advantages over their competitors.
“Government is committed to invest in Air Malta’s growth and new fleet but will not allow any interest groups to undermine the national interest,” he said.
He also warned pilots that if they don’t change their attitude, the responsibility for Air Malta’s growth operation will be shifted to Malta MedAir, a new government-owned airline.