With some A320s on its 10-aircraft fleet according to its official website, Air Malta was faced with an arduous government request to deliver 800 tonnes of medical supplies to the front–liners of Mater Dei Hospital.
A logistical nightmare given that Air Malta doesn’t have the capacity, the operations would require the national airline’s crew to undergo quarantine both in China and upon return to Malta.
“Analysing government’s request regarding this exceptional load, it only made sense that a specific dedicated ‘freighter aircraft’ be chartered to transport the supplies,” Air Malta said in a press release.
Instead of having to operate some 100 flights between the Mediterranean archipelago and China, Air Malta’s outgoing-CEO Clifford Chetcuti initiated a proposal that outmatched a quote submitted by a Hong Kong-based logistics operator.
Working with its cargo division, Air Malta managed to negotiate with Qatar Airways to deliver this ‘exceptional’ cargo using Boeing 777 freighters.
Minister for Economy and Investment Silvio Schembri said the intervention was “crucial not only in ensuring the record time arrival of the medical cargo, but also resulted in financial savings of some €5.5 million in transport costs for the country.”
Local news outlet MaltaToday reported that Air Malta pilots have initiated court proceedings against the government over its failure to fulfil an agreement signed two years ago that provided work safeguards.
The judicial proceedings were filed by the Airline Pilots Association against the Prime Minister, the Economy Minister and the Tourism Minister.
(With updates on the last two paragraphs)