Air Malta replacement faces complaints despite PM’s pledge for ‘better’ airline

Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.

KM Malta Airlines is already fielding complaints from unhappy customers just days since launching and before its website, which is not yet functional, is set to launch on Monday.

The airline, set to replace Air Malta as of 1 April 2024, prohibits the option for carry-on luggage in its base fares, forcing customers to upgrade to get the option.

Customers will only be able to carry their small, 10kg luggage into the cabin if they pay for a business class upgrade or purchase a larger 20kg suitcase.

The policy contradicts Prime Minister Robert Abela’s claims that the new airline would offer comfort and service “better than Air Malta” and would not operate as a low-cost airline.

Additionally, customers looking to book flights with KM Malta Airlines since its delayed launch on 4 December have had to do so through third-party agents, in person, or over the phone, with no option for online bookings.

A press release on 3 December claimed online bookings would be available through a website the following week, from Monday 11 December. KM Malta Airlines called the move a “two-phase” launch.

The new airline’s luggage system prohibits customers from taking small 10kg luggage into the cabin unless they fly business class, forcing customers to upgrade or check their luggage into the aircraft’s hold.

KM Malta Airlines customer support agents contacted by The Shift confirmed no 10kg carry-on option is available in economy class. Notably, no option for Maltese-speaking agents was available at the time of calling.

The agents recommended customers either resort to a 2kg cabin bag, upgrade to a 20kg luggage or fly business class for the option.

KM Malta Airlines’ luggage system drew criticism for customers for barring the option for a 10kg cabin bag.

The system drew complaints from customers online, who vented their frustration at the lack of an option for a 10kg cabin bag, considered standard on other airlines, with one person calling it “a non-starter.”

“[The suitcase] needs to go in the hold, so if you’re rushing to connect to another flight and the KM flight is delayed, then you’re ruined!” another prospective customer commented.

The launch delays, absence of a website and impractical luggage options directly contrast claims made by Prime Minister Robert Abela upon the launch of the new airline.

Replying to questions by The Shift during a press event for the new airline’s launch in October, Abela claimed it would not operate as a low-cost airline to ensure its promised profitability. Additionally, he said the services and options offered by the new airline would “be better than those offered by Air Malta currently.”

Prospective customers reacting to the new airline’s launch last week also expressed confusion at its choice of name. The airline is currently still using its parent company’s name, KM Malta Airlines, despite government promises that it will retain the Air Malta name.

Upon the new airline’s launch in October Abela and Finance Minister Clyde Caruana claimed KM Malta Airlines would win the name in a tendering process for its use.

The Air Malta name and branding would be purchased or leased by the new airline after it was sold to a government company in 2018 as part of a creative accounting exercise by former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi.

The Shift has reported how the European Commission opposed the new airline’s retention of the branding as the old airline’s assets were prohibited from being directly transferred to avoid breaching state aid rules and maintain economic discontinuity.

Sources in Brussels recently told The Shift they fear the Maltese government intends to create a second version of Air Malta, which would violate agreements with the Commission.

                           

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Anthony Jackson
Anthony Jackson
2 months ago

Another drain on the taxpayers

Patricia
Patricia
2 months ago

What are they planning to fill all that overhead space with? It’s not as if it’s going to change the amount of weight the plane is carrying if these bags are going in the hold instead of in the overhead lockers.

Well, I’m not going to pay more to be able to take a 10kg bag with me. I’ll just move to other airlines. There are various choices available. My money, my choice.

Alfred Fenech
Alfred Fenech
2 months ago

This is what you get when you ask incompetent people who bankrupted one airline, to create and run anither new one. Get rid of everyone and start afresh. It is the only way it can work. Start with the ground handling agents

D M Briffa
D M Briffa
2 months ago
Reply to  Alfred Fenech

Better still, don’t “start afresh”. A new airline will never be able to compete with the likes of easyJet and Ryanair.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
2 months ago

Labour government never learns from past mistakes.

Simon Camilleri
Simon Camilleri
2 months ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

They didn’t have any intention to ‘learn’. They just want to steal our money to distribute amongst the piggies. That can be in the form of our fares or the tax money used to inevitably ‘bail’ it out. They don’t care which. Make no mistake – the airline exists ONLY for the benefit of the owner, the people who work there, the piggies, and a few of the piggies select friends. They would have carried on with Air Malta but the EU forced them to change their name. Not a problem for them.

Last edited 2 months ago by Simon Camilleri
Angelo
Angelo
2 months ago

Kull ma jaghmlu, jaghmluh bazwi. Imnalla hemm linji ohra li jaqduna ahjar. Il-linja l-gdida jista juzaghha min thanzer minn fuq darna

Joseph Said
Joseph Said
2 months ago

This is the recipe for failure.
No problem, we will have the real deal later………remember!! and the hell with the National airline.
May I suggest a name for our National airline……………Air Melita.

Dominic Camilleri
Dominic Camilleri
2 months ago
Reply to  Joseph Said

Le Hanini Our national Airline Mux AIR MELITA it should more be called AIR DAJNIH

Breitling lill-Ministru
Breitling lill-Ministru
2 months ago

2kgs for handluggage goes against IATA regulations. KM Malta airlines is not yet an IATA member. IATA membership takes a long time to accomplish. without IATA membership , KM2 won’t be able to sell tickets on other airlines ( interline tickets) and offer codeshare flights with partner airlines! KM2 is adapting low-cost money making strategies!

Anthony Sciberras
Anthony Sciberras
2 months ago

I booked 4/12/23 was told I could take 10kg case on board and to put case in hold 32 kg for £80 charge which I paid Travelling 24/4/2024

makjavel
makjavel
2 months ago

New CART same Horse.

Paul Henry Berman
Paul Henry Berman
2 months ago
Reply to  makjavel

Sadly same Donkey or Ass!!

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