Cypriot MEP cries foul over Air Malta aid

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

So­cial­ist MEP Costas Mavrides has cried foul over state aid be­ing given to na­tional air­line Air Malta, de­mand­ing an­swers from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion over what he de­scribes as “il­le­gal” plans for the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment to ab­sorb the air­line’s debts and “se­cret sub­si­dies” be­ing given to Air Malta by the Malta Tourism Author­ity.

In a Euro­pean par­lia­men­tary ques­tion, Mr Mavrides notes that, “In 2012, the Com­mis­sion con­cluded that the €130 mil­lion of aid granted to the state-owned air­line Air Malta for its re­struc­tur­ing was in line with EU state aid rules.

“Ac­cord­ing to the Com­mis­sion, the re­struc­tur­ing mea­sures fore­seen, which in­cluded a sig­nif­i­cant ca­pac­ity re­duc­tion and the sale of as­sets, should en­sure the air­line’s long-term vi­a­bil­ity with­out con­tin­ued state sup­port, while avoid­ing un­due dis­tor­tions of com­pe­ti­tion.”

He added, “Re­cently, new charges have been made that the Gov­ern­ment of Malta has now de­cided to ab­sorb all of Air Malta’s past debt and clean its bal­ance sheet through a pa­per trans­ac­tion that ap­pears il­le­gal.

“In ad­di­tion, the Malta Tourism Author­ity is also giv­ing se­cret sub­si­dies to Air Malta in or­der to keep it op­er­a­tional.”

Mr Mavrides asked the Com­mis­sion whether it was aware of what he has stated as well as: “Why was the same treat­ment not ap­plied in the case of Cyprus Air­ways when the com­pany was driven to clo­sure?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.