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Cost of disruptions at Air Malta ‘commercially sensitive information’

Many clients were 'understanding' of situation - chairman

Air Malta was not the only airline experiencing delays or cancelled flights, its chairman, Charles Mangion, insisted yesterday. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Air Malta was not the only airline experiencing delays or cancelled flights, its chairman, Charles Mangion, insisted yesterday. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Air Malta chairman Charles Mangion would not say how much the delays and flight cancellations that plagued the airline last month had cost, insisting such information was commercially sensitive.

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded for several hours at airports across Europe last month after more than 10 flights were delayed or cancelled in one weekend.

The issue, the airline has insisted, arose after a new plane due to join its fleet at the end of May was not delivered on time. A wet-leased aircraft that was temporarily brought in was grounded after developing technical problems, it said.

Fielding questions from journalists following a press briefing on onboard services, Dr Mangion said he acknowledged that the issues had obviously come at a cost. However, he hastened to add, he was “not comfortable” divulging details, commenting that the airline could not have a plane on stand-by.

We are not the only ones that have delays

“We cannot have a plane sitting on the ground just in case. Having a plane that is not being used is a sign of a dying airline. Not even the biggest airlines like Emirates and Qatar have airplanes that serve solely as relievers,” he said.

While several passengers vented their frustration with the Times of Malta and on social media, complaining they were not offered much assistance when the flights were cancelled or delayed, Dr Mangion said many clients were “understanding” of the situation.

Though the situation was undesirable, Air Malta was not the only airline that suffered delays, he said, mentioning EasyJet as an example.

“We are not the only ones that have delays, other airlines have delays too. It happens across the industry but Air Malta’s issues are highlighted more,” Dr Mangion said.

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