Finance Minister T. Fenech said that during the financial year ended March 31, 2009, fuel alone cost the airline €18 million in losses. He added that the hedging of oil purchases helped reduce these losses from €27 million.
The decline in the sterling’s value, meanwhile, affected Air Malta significantly, due to the importance of the British market. This decline alone caused €12.8 million in losses.
Projections for the current financial year also show losses, although not as high as in the previous one.
The minister noted that the airline’s losses were also due to the fact that the company bore a responsibility towards the country, as well as its bottom line. However, he added, continued losses raised questions on the airline’s sustainability.
Air Malta would now look into another restructuring plan, and was also considering recapitalisation. Government has also started talks with the European Commission over state aid to Air Malta, which, per E.U. regulations, can only be given under certain conditions.
Mr Fenech also took the opportunity to announce that the company’s chairman, Lawrence Zammit, will be stepping down after he asked not to be reappointed. His replacement will be the current chairman of MCESD and GO, Sonny Portelli.
Mr Zammit said that after serving as the airline’s chairman for over 6 years, he sought to step down for purely personal reasons.
His designated successor, meanwhile, said that he was under no illusions about the challenges that the new post would bring.