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The Air Malta sickness epidemic – some thoughts

To date, Maltapoints has chosen not to comment on the recent Air Malta “sickness outbreak” amongst its pilots, which led to a large number of flights having to be cancelled or rescheduled (at a cost of over €500,000 to Air Malta). There was no need on our part to inform anyone – Air Malta were doing a pretty good job there, and it is not really our role to speculate on internal politics (or propensity to sickness!) at Air Malta.

However, the recent statement by Air Malta on the subject is extremely interesting, and I think says a lot (without saying a lot).

We set out the key paragraphs below:

For the sake of record, Air Malta can confirm that 17 pilots were on sick leave when normally we would expect an average of between two and four pilots to report sick.

Only the ALPA [Malta pilots’ union] Executive Committee and pilots involved know what control each had over the unfortunate spike in crew sickness. Had ALPA chosen to encourage their healthy members to help crew flights, then less passengers would have been disrupted.

Air Malta remains committed to develop a positive working environment with our pilots and ALPA at all times.

We leave you to make your own conclusions.

Whatever the exact reasons and motivations here, the sad truth is that this episode has inconvenienced passengers, cost Air Malta a huge amount of money (that it cannot afford), and dented its reputation. It is not our place to point fingers, but it is very much hoped that similar scenarios can be avoided in future, and indeed it is essential if Air Malta is to survive.

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