Air Malta being stripped of its value

Air Malta being stripped of its value

In a short statement the government today announced it has set up a new company named Malta Air Travel Limited. The new company will own the airport slots that Air Malta currently holds. Most of these are close to worthless. But the slots for the early morning flights that Air Malta flies into Heathrow are estimated to be worth tens of millions of euro.

The government has been very secretive about this process which has been cooking for several months. Its very short statement of today appears to have been provoked by press questions put to the government on what it’s been up to.

But there are more questions the government needs to answer. Is it true that the government has already attempted to transfer the Heathrow slots to its new operation but was denied permission to do so by the Heathrow airport authorities because the new company is not licensed to operate planes? Is it true that in order to circumvent this the government is arranging for its new company to be licensed as an airline by Malta’s civil aviation authority? Today’s statement says the company owning the landing slots is “required by law to hold an air operators license”. Which law?

Is it true that the license being used is already in existence and used by a private operator?

These questions are relevant because the separation of the Heathrow slots from the rest of the value base of Air Malta may very well mean something the government is not yet saying. It may very well mean that the government is seeking to ring-fence the valuable assets still at Air Malta and leave behind all the toxic elements no one in their right mind would want to own.

Is the government looking to privatise the new entity it has set up?

Konrad Mizzi is organising this deal. We have been through his prestidigitations before: in the power station, in the hospitals, in every occasion where the value of public infrastructure was separated from its cost, taxpayers retained the bones and anonymous profiteers gorged themselves on the flesh.

The moment he was appointed to run the Ministry responsible for Air Malta we all realised with horror that we have seen this awful thing before.

His game appears to be afoot again.

  • Macduff

    Similar to what Berlusconi did with Alitalia: sell off the good parts to his cronies; lump the rest onto the taxpayer. A shareholding in the former was then sold to Etihad in turn.

  • Mac Taylor

    Off topic:

    Regarding the Times of Malta’s policy of closing the comments board for certain news items, today’s report about that crook Edward Caruana, minister Evarist Bartolo’s canvasser and person of trust and who used the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools as a means in a personal get-rich-quick plan, the ToM has also closed the comments board.

    In comparison to this, the trial by lies of former PN minister Jason Azzopardi is being reported by the ToM with an open commentary in which the Usual Labour Paid Trolls are commenting with much lies, gusto and tu quoque comments.

    I just cannot not think of a Times of Malta going back to the Adrian Hillman times.

    • Beingpressed

      Jacob Borg we need to talk!

    • Luca Vella

      That’s why I’m against censoring others. If you censor opposing views, you’re creating an echo chamber, and that isn’t healthy.

      I hate trolls as much as the next person but I’d rather have that than censorship.

      • T Borg

        Luca, you are a Labour troll yourself. So stop pretending.

        (This is a comment J. Vella wrote in reply to your comment about a month ago. Worth reminding: “You are responsible for having demonised Daphne Caruana Galizia, a martyr for justice. You have her blood on your hands.” )

        • Luca Vella

          That’s rich coming from someone who literally is trying to troll me on this thread.

          Sounds like you’ve never looked up the definition, and it’s clear that you’re projecting yourself on me.

          Ironic isn’t it?

          • T Borg

            You claim that you hate trolls. That’s a blatant lie considering that you are a Labour troll yourself. I recognised your name from a silly comment you made in reply to something I posted a few weeks ago.

          • Luca Vella

            Of course you did, what are you going to say next to suit your narrative?

            You would make Goebbels proud.

          • T Borg

            My point was that people should be honest when they post comments online. But then again I suppose that is too much to ask from a Labour troll.

    • r jones

      Maltatoday have not yet reported the story. I suppose they are trying to figure out how to sweeten the pill.

      There is some riveting stuff in the testimony of the contractor. In a normal democracy, the minister would have taken political responsibility and resigned, but not in Malta.

      I salute the contractor for taking a stand against corruption and speaking out, as I salute all those who speak out against all forms of corruption.

  • quickmick408

    Another Mizzi abortion, everything he touches is doomed. Another fudged attempt to sort out a real problem by an idiot who can barely string two sentences together but is considered a rising star by labour supporters/ Unbelievable.

    • Anna

      It’s not as innocent as Mizzi being an idiot. In whatever project Mizzi has been involved he strips public assets – our assets – and sells them on giving rise to the speculation that commisions are changing hands and used to ‘populate’ offshore accounts in disreputable jurisdictions. In the case of the hospitals how plausible is the suspicion that the ultimate beneficial owners of VGH are Hearnville, Egrant and Tillgate?

  • leon 1

    Konrad is very good at playing chess and playing for time and solving nothing except filling the pockets of some trusted ones.

  • canon

    Should I have to worry about this development in Air Malta? Not at all. Let the chickens come home to roost.

  • Robin Vella

    Do at least make an attempt at an intelligent analysis, instead of looking to score brownie points at every opportunity. The hiving off of the slots into a separate company protects them from being removed from Maltese hands in the event of bankruptcy. It may also allow for compensation through a means to circumvent the state aid rules, though I’m not sure this would succeed anyway and I do not think it’s the primary objective.

    It seems as if every international newscaster is beating a path to your door. You have got to up your game if you want to live up to your promise….

    • Stephen Bonello

      Both your and Manuel Delia’s analyses may be realistic possibilities, but give the track record of this administration and especially Konrad Mizzi’s involvement in this, one would be inclined to go with Manuel’s.

  • Justice

    Yet we all sit back and let these crooks get wealthier. Daphne was so darn right.