Air Malta reaches restructuring deals with two of its unions

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Air Malta has reached restructuring agreements with two of its unions, which include a voluntary redundancy scheme aimed at helping the carrier to cut its costs.

The agreements with the Association of Airline Engineers (AEA) and the General Workers Union (GWU) cover roster changes, increased efficiencies and a reduction in staff levels.

"This is a milestone for Air Malta. Through these agreements we have agreed with the unions to implement a comprehensive review of the operations of the airline in their respective areas," said Air Malta chief executive Peter Davies.

"There is definitely lot more work to be done, but today we are happy that we have an agreement with which we can start to work together to craft a new bright future for the airline."

The voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes covered by the agreements will be launched in the next few days and will remain open for four weeks.

AEA and GWU represent about 900 Air Malta employees from various sections of the company.

Air Malta aims to cut its 1,250-strong workforce by about 500 staff as it seeks to return to profitability.

The airline has not made a profit since 2007. Its financial difficulties led to the European Commission approving a temporary €52 million ($68 million) rescue package in November 2010 while a restructuring plan was worked out.