Captain Clifford Chetcuti, Chief Executive Officer at Air Malta, said that Air Malta’s international route network, built by sustained investment over the years, was vital for the country’s economic development.
“Air Malta has played a pivotal role in Malta’s economic and social development,” he told the Parliament of Enteprises, an event organised by the Malta Chamber. "Malta’s size and physical isolation from its trading partners render the country reliant on importation. Consequently, Malta is similarly dependent on export-led economic activity for balance of payments purposes as well as to generate growth and jobs on the islands."
Air Malta recently reported an operating profit of €1.2 million for the year ended March 2018, turning a profit for the first time in 18 years. Captain Chetcuti said that beyond tourism, the airline offered a lifeline to the vibrant manufacturing industry. “Reliable and timely supply of components and raw materials is essential to modern just-in-time manufacturing and integrated supply-chains. It is pertinent to note that sectors of industry such as pharmaceuticals, microelectronics, electrical components and printed security documentation are very much reliant on inward/outward air-freight. There exists no feasible alternative and these sectors therefore thrive on guaranteed air-transport.”
He added that Malta’s long-term strategic interest and future economic development could not be allowed to "depend exclusively on the short-term profit motives of internationally-owned airlines.”
Captain Chetcuti also spoke about the equally important role the airline played in other sectors of the economy such as real estate, yachting, education, logistics and remote gaming. “The airline’s route network renders possible the constant attraction of foreign direct investment, particularly in those areas where the investor needs to repatriate workers and/or family.”
He thanked the Malta Chamber for being consistent in its views and actions whenever necessary in ascertaining a sustainable future for Air Malta, adding that sustainability is not the airline's only goal.
“We intend to go much further than that. As has been declared many times over the past months, we have aspirations to establish ourselves as the Airline of the Mediterranean. To this end, the airline hopes to be able to count on the Chamber’s support and indeed that of all sides of this House to ensure we are able to reach our desired objective.”