Opposition party leaders in Malta have called for transparency in the government’s talks with the European Commission about state aid for Air Malta (KM, Malta Int'l) amid reports that only a small portion of the Mediterranean island's requests have been accepted by the regulator.

Nationalist Party MP and Shadow Finance Minister Mario de Marco has accused the government of failing to inform the parliament, trade unions, and employees of its efforts with the EC to save the national airline, according to local news reports.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana has neither confirmed nor denied reports that Brussels has not agreed to the full sum of EUR290 million euros (USD332 million) which Malta applied for in April 2021 as part of a five-year state aid financing plan to turn around the national carrier. In July, The Times of Malta reported the Commission had asked Malta to come up with a more realistic sum.

Malta Today reports Caruana was expected to reveal more details about the negotiations with Brussels at a meeting with trade unions on Friday, January 14.

As reported, Air Malta Executive Chairman David Curmi told ch-aviation in November the airline needed a EUR165 million (USD188 million) capital injection to operate sustainably. Meanwhile, it had trimmed down its fleet, network, and workforce, he said.

Caruana in October said Air Malta was expected to lose around EUR30 million (USD34 million) in 2022, Maltese language Illum newspaper reports. He had told parliament the national airline had lost EUR435 million (USD498 million) in the past 15 years.

The Maltese government’s discussions with the EC have been ongoing since April 2021.

In November 2021, the Commission greenlighted the Maltese government’s EUR10 million (USD11 million) COVID-19 support aid for tourism and related sector small and medium-sized businesses.