Malta has announced it will shut down its loss-making national carrier, Air Malta, in 2024 and replace it with a new government-owned airline, Prime Minister Robert Abela has announced.
The Maltese government had been negotiating with the European Commission for more than 18 months for permission to grant 290 million euros ($304 million) in state aid into the struggling carrier.
Air Malta issued this statement:
1. Will existing Air Malta customer bookings be honoured?
Air Malta will continue to operate flights up to and including 30 March 2024. All existing and new tickets still to be purchased for travel up to 30 March 2024 will continue to be fully valid and honoured for travel.
2. What happens to customer bookings for flights on or after 31 March 2024?
All bookings for flights on Air Malta for travel on or after 31 March 2024 will be cancelled and Air Malta will refund customers the full cost (including taxes) of any tickets already issued with travel dates on or after 31 March 2024.
Air Malta tickets for travel on or after 31 March 2024 will not be transferred to the new airline.
3. Will customers be refunded for their cancelled flights?
Yes. Air Malta will refund customers the full cost (including taxes) of any tickets already issued with travel dates on or after 31 March 2024. Refunds are guaranteed by the Government of Malta as the principal shareholder of Air Malta p.l.c.
4. How can customers apply for the refunds for their cancelled flights?
For bookings made directly with Air Malta customers may:
- a) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- b) write to Air Malta p.l.c. at Skyparks Business Centre, Level 2, Malta International Airport, Luqa, requesting the refund; or
- c) complete a Refund Request Form at the Air Malta Office at the Malta International Airport (Departures Terminal).
Customers should include the Air Malta reservations code in all communications.
For flights booked through a travel agent, customers should contact their travel agent to submit a refund request to Air Malta on their behalf.
5. From when can customers apply for refunds?
Customers can apply for refunds from 1 November 2023.
6. Can customers make another booking for flights on or after 31 March 2024?
Yes. From 1 December 2023 customers may book any flights operated by the new airline.
7. Will Air Malta rebook customers on connecting flights with other airlines in the case of the cancelled bookings?
No. Air Malta will not rebook customers on connecting flights and such bookings must be carried out by the customer. For connecting flights booked through a travel agent, customers should contact their travel agent.
8. Can customers whose bookings were cancelled rebook on the new airline at the same price?
Ticket prices for the new airline are completely unrelated to Air Malta ticket prices. There is the possibility that some prices may be lower or higher depending on the date of travel.
9. When will customers be able to book flights with the new airline for travel effective 31 March 2024?
From 1 December 2023 customers will be able to book flights with the new airline for travel dates on or after 31 March 2024.
10. From where will customers be able to purchase tickets for flights with the new airline?
Customers will be able to book flights with the new airline through all the normal airline distribution channels including the website of new airline, travel agents, the call centre, online booking platforms etc.
The website of the new airline will be available on 1 December 2023.
11. What happens to codeshare bookings for travel effective 31 March 2024?
All codeshare bookings either made through Air Malta on another airline, or vice-versa by another airline on Air Malta will have to be cancelled. Customers should contact the issuing airline of the ticket for more details.
12. Will customers who have outstanding flight delay or baggage claims with Air Malta still be paid?
Yes. All legally compliant claims will be fully honoured by Air Malta. Payments will be processed as quickly as possible.
13. What happens if I am booked through a Group Booking?
Air Malta will be aware of your group booking and the Air Malta Group Sales department will be in contact directly with the Group Organiser.
Air Malta aircraft photo gallery: