Cypriot MEP cries foul over Air Malta aid
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?”