Air Malta Chairman Louis Farrugia and Chief Executive Peter Davies this evening addressed the airline’s employees during an activity held exclusively for them at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra. The event, organised specifically to address the concerns of the employees at such a delicate time for the airline, focused on the current situation, the need for change and move forward. This was the employees’ first direct opportunity to learn about the direction that the board of directors, the new CEO and the management are taking to save the majority of jobs at Air Malta.
In a meeting attended by hundreds of employees, Mr Farrugia said that Air Malta had no option but to carry out a significant restructuring to save the airline and hundreds of jobs: “We’re doing all that is possible to carry out this very difficult but mission critical task. Every stakeholder needs to embrace change in order to survive and rebuild the future.” He was confident that, “By working together we will make it.”
Mr Farrugia also announced that the airline has already started implementing the restructuring plan that has been presented to the European Commission, with a key milestone being the reducing costs by €30 million per annum, at the same time also increasing revenue by €30 million annually.
Following the Chairman’s address to the employees, CEO Peter Davies gave a detailed presentation of where the airline is today and highlighted the salient critical areas that needed significant change. Mr Davies presented the roadmap with milestones to be achieved that will secure the successful turnaround of the airline.
During his presentation Mr Davies revealed that in the last financial year ending March 2011 unaudited accounts indicated that Air Malta made a loss of 36 million Euros.
Mr Davies also announced a Voluntary Redundancy Scheme for the airline’s employees and said that formal talks with the unions will start as early as next week. He added that the turnaround is both essential and time critical. The end of summer, he said has been set as the target by which time the key changes will have been implemented.
Mr Davies announced the appointment of Philip Saunders, as Chief Commercial Officer of Air Malta. Mr Saunders, who has worked for Mr Davies before on other restructuring projects, is joining Air Malta to lead the Commercial Division. The CEO also announced that a Maltese Chief Financial Officer will be appointed to the airline on 1st September. The Chief Executive added that the airline needs senior experienced personnel – locals as well as foreigners – to spearhead the restructuring process.
Mr Davies reported that five more professionals, specialised in project management and airline restructuring are joining Air Malta and taking on the responsibility for Information Technology, Revenue Management, Finance, Engineering and Cargo Sections. This team is appointed on a temporary basis, specifically focused on accelerating the pace of change during these six months.
He concluded by stating that the task of restructuring Air Malta is challenging indeed and appealed to all stakeholders to understand that unnecessary speculation will harm the change processes. Meetings such as today’s meeting, he added are intended to communicate directly with employees to rebuild trust amongst the key stakeholders.
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