Flying conflicts

Flying conflicts

Yannick Pace was quick to report on Malta Today in much greater detail the very dry statement of the government on the stripping of Air Malta’s ownership of its airport slots, particularly Heathrow’s morning slots.

His report is fleshed out with the government spiel we can expect over the next several weeks: that the government is eviscerating Air Malta in order to save it. That taking away from the national airline the only thing of value it has left is doing it a favour and ensuring its sustainability for the future.

We have heard it all before when Enemalta was stripped of its electricity generation capacity and forced to buy electricity at a much great cost from outsiders the government engaged in shady deals. We heard it all when our health service was stripped of 3 of its most strategic operations and passed on to who knows who for what and why.

Yannick Pace’s report is more significant than it declares. He’s in a position to be well informed not because of some extraordinary journalistic prowess but because his father is Charles Pace, the Director of Civil Aviation that has been managing this shady affair for Konrad Mizzi for the last several months.

This has been a publicly known fact since Daphne Caruana Galizia reported on it in April.

The question I asked earlier whether the new company is using an existing privately-owned air operator license is now even more pressing. Charles Pace is also the father of Alessandra Pace who works (worked?) for VGH, the people who may or may not have sold the hospitals concession to new owners.

VGH owns an air operator license supposedly to provide inter-island ambulance services. The operation is subsidised by the state. Of course. But has this license suddenly become considerably more valuable?

We deserve to be better informed by the government of its plans for the national airline and preferably we should not get these briefings through family connections of government officials. Whatever the lot running the country now seems to think, they are not dealing with Air Zimbabwe.

  • pete ross

    Joe Vella Bonnici, the boss of that corrupt agency that goes by the name of Identity Malta and which is fully loaded with Labour Party persons of trust due to the goings on inside that place where identities are created and destroyed, is also a very close relative of Charles Pace.

    Daphne had exposed this here:

    • Rosie

      Pity it’s not being monitored DB group are popping ads.

    • Carmel Ellul

      So could voting documents?

  • callixtus

    Don`t look down on Zimbabweans. They have somehow managed to get rid of their dictator and his parasitic wife. The Maltese on the other hand, …..

    • I don’t look down on Zimbabweans. I know too many of them not to have a very high opinion of most. But for many years their government was also run as a family business.

      • donc

        Manuel in Malta its not a family business mentality we should worry about ,but who we invited to pose as a Maltese family member

  • All I want is justice

    This is how valuable these slots are,

    The question now is whether this new company will be sold off to some unknown individuals later on in the future and for what price.

  • Macduff

    There’s Vistajet, too. The all-important night flight to Baku…

  • manifimx

    It is very sad to see these open complaints against a power that seems to enjoy doing the exact opposite than to inform.
    It is sad to be teased and smirked at by the powers that be.
    It is sad to try and conciliate the way things are happening now with how one was educated in the way things should be done.
    It is probably better to not bother anymore and to carry on with one’s life.
    It seems everyone is party to this and on a high.

  • donc

    Many a politicians predict the next great war shall be over water , look at Israel and where there water source lies , the Nile and the countries living off its waters ,
    I wonder if Malta water services shall require privatisation or something of the sort , as an excuse to flog it too ,
    Water shall be a commodity we Maltese do not have ,already !!!!!!!

    When in a couple of decades the globe starts hoarding water ,

    I am sure our Water services company shall be benefiting only a few
    The writing is already on the wall
    We should all start preempting our future dealings and start thinking prior to these shady deals being planned and executed

  • Zhu Hsi

    A quick look at KM’s latest published financials (March 2017) shows negative equity south of € 64 million with current liabilities (which make up 86% of total liabilities) standing at 170% of current assets. Also, it seems that KM does not own any of its aircraft. It leases them. The hole in KM’s financials looks like the magnitude of the capitalization of the nw company. In short, this looks like a scheme to inject quick cash into AM. Question is…. will this will pass muster in Brussels? Not sure…..

    The other distinct possibility is that the plan is to fold KM (blaming the pilots and others) and then, since the lease agreements with KM will be worth zilch, sell the slots in the usual opaque manner – to generate as much commissions as possible to the “huttaba”.

  • Antoine Vella

    It is possiblle that Malta Air Travel will buy Air Malta’s airport slots at hugely inflated prices and then lease them back to the airline at very low rates. This would be an unofficial way of subsidising the airline by going around EU rules.

    There are, however, other aspects and issues to this typically shady business deal.

    • Joe Borg

      Sometime ago it was announced that Air Malta’s Ground Handling will be ‘hived off’ to form a new Government company, totally separate from Air Malta.

      It is inexplicable how such a deal has escaped the scrutiny of the opposition and commentators. Ground handling is roughly half of Air Malta – Check-in, Boarding Gate, Baggage sorting and loading, ground service equipment like coaches, steps, conveyor belts, ground power units, specialized lifters for handicapped etc etc, including large hangars and work shops to service all that equipment.

      The cost of the equipment alone costs several millions (one coach alone is over €100,000 new, and there are around 10 of them). But more that that, there is the goodwill. Air Malta doesn’t only service it’s own fleet, but has roughly 50% of the 6 million passengers that pass through MIA, each paying the ground handler a premium of several Euros, besides the cost of service to the aircraft and other ancillaries, running into the thousands per flight.

      The point is whether Air Malta is getting paid for ‘giving away’ this enormous asset. It is worth tens of millions as a going concern. To add insult to injury, from the day after being ‘hived off’ the national airline will have to rent the services of its former employees at a cost of thousands per each flight.

      There has been no word that Air Malta will get paid for this asset, and questions should certainly be asked. Somebody should wake the opposition from its slumber.

  • R F

    I do not understand how they get away with all this crap. Where are the EU institutions? Are they there only to enact stupid laws like killing our agriculture and fishermen. Or counting how many birds are trapped or shot? If there is one rule that should be ‘one size fits all’ it must be the rule of law with the fight against corruption. It is true that we Maltese should be the ones to get our house in order, but on whom can the man in the street rely when all institutions are hijacked and the law courts do not have the support of other institutions because they do not do their job. Even the opposition is now lame. If I where a foreign country’s prime minister, I would not want to be seen with Malta’s Prime Minister!

  • Zhu Hsi

    Just a tidbit. Oman Air in 2016 bought a slot at LHR from AF for $ 75 million. Sure this has not escaped the troika’s avaricious ken!

  • Galeforce

    Hadma ohra a la ConRat.
    Once again, Daphne was right