Malta, disruption for travellers due to new ground handling company services
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – As Christmas and New Year holidays approach, Malta’s national airline is warning its customers that they should expect delays in the immediate future as a new ground handling company took over the operations as from the begining of this month.
Air Malta has fired its own ground handling services in an attempt to cut the financial costs either by transfering them to other government departments or given a generous financial incentive to leave the national airline. The ground handling services have been outsourced to Aviation Services Handling Limited – a new joint venture between Rome-based Aviation Services Spa (60%) and Air Malta (40%).
Several Air Malta customers complained on social media about the difficulties they have experienced since December 1, some have had their luggage lost and others missing their connection flights because of mistakes made by the newly foreign grounded handling staff.
The Aviation Services Handling Ltd, is actively recruiting new staff, mostly Italians, because of lack of employees. According to local reports, the new employees are not adequately trained, there is a language barrier with the customers, and have received no handover since the takeover took place. The Italian employees were given a three-month define contract.
Air Malta stated that the transition was expected to take place over a period of time in a phased approach that will see passenger handling, baggage handling and cargo handling being transferred to the new operator. Describing the whole operation as “very complex and challenging” due to new employees working in a new environment, Air Malta said it was “doing its utmost to limit disruptions at the Malta International Airport, but the dimension of the transition is such that delays are likely to occur.”
The European Commission is yet to decide on the request made by the Maltese government to provide another state aid package to Air Malta in an effort to save the national airline.