Malta International Airport

Malta International Airport
Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta
Malta International Airport3.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerMalta International Airport plc
LocationGudja, Malta
Hub forAir Malta
Focus city forRyanair
Elevation AMSL300 ft / 91 m
Coordinates35°51′27″N 014°28′39″E / 35°51′27″N 014°28′39″E / 35.85750; 14.47750
MLA is located in Malta
Location on a map of Malta
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft Movements42,987[1]
Cargo & Mail (tonnes)16,177[1]
Source: Maltese AIP at EUROCONTROL[2]
Statistics from timesofmalta[3]

Malta International Airport (Maltese: Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta, IATA: MLA, ICAO: LMML) is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole of the Maltese Islands. It is located on island of Malta in the town of Gudja, and occupies the location of the former RAF Luqa. It was completely refurbished, becoming fully operational on 25 March 1992. In front of the terminal are located several Aircraft Parking positions where the biggest most frequently visited aircraft for Malta is parked daily, the Boeing 777. In the part of Luqa are other parking slots for planes which aren't as frequently used as the ones in Gudja. All cargo supplies are usually taken to the Luqa parking positions as DHL is quite close to them though there occasionally were circumstances where cargo holds have been parked in Gudja due to busy days. Above Runway 23, there are parking positions which takes in private aircraft such as Leerjets. In the part of Kirkop/Safi/Mqabba stand other hangars which accommodate aircraft maintenance. In Farrug, northwest of the Airfield is located Lufthansa Technik (German) which arranges and gives upgrades to almost every type of aircraft. The Malta International Airport is located southwest of the Maltese capital Valletta. The airport serves as the main hub for Air Malta and a base for Ryanair. It is also home to the Area Control Center and hosts the annual Malta Airshow, visited by military and civil aircraft from various countries. The airport is operated by Malta International Airport plc.


Luqa airfield in 1941

The first civil airfield was constructed at Ta' Qali, followed by others at Ħal Far (RAF Hal Far) and Luqa.[when?] During the Second World War, the airfields at Ta' Qali and Hal Far were severely battered and civil operations subsequently centred on Luqa Airport.[citation needed]

The increase in passenger handling and aircraft movements necessitated the construction of a civil air terminal. Preparations started in 1956 and the British Government mainly financed what was then a Lm 300,000 project.[citation needed] Malta's new passenger air terminal at Luqa was inaugurated on 31 March 1958 by the then Governor of Malta Sir Robert Laycock. The air terminal consisted of two floors including some basic facilities such as a restaurant, a post office, a cable and wireless office and a viewing balcony for the public.[citation needed]

In October 1977, a new and longer runway was launched and works commenced on the extension and refurbishment of the air terminal.[citation needed] An arrivals lounge and another lounge dedicated to VIPs were added and the original part of the terminal building was used for departures.

This refurbishment was not enough as it still lacked certain essential facilities. Immediately after the change in Government in 1987, the new administration decided that the 35-year-old terminal was past its time and therefore gave the green light for the construction of a new air terminal along Park 9.[citation needed]

Until the construction of the new air terminal was completed, the Government embarked on a further upgrade of the old air terminal.[when?] The facilities introduced included air conditioning, new baggage carousels, flight information monitors, computerised check-in desks, a new floor surface and new retail outlets including a larger duty-free area.

The foundation stone of the present air terminal in Gudja was laid in September 1989 and it was inaugurated in record time 29 months later, in February 1992. Malta International Airport became fully operational on 25 March 1992 and the old Luqa passenger terminal was effectively closed down after 35 years.[4]

Over the last several years, passenger numbers have been increasing, climbing from 3.5 million in 2011 to 4.6 million in 2015. Passenger figures have exceeded 5.0 million in 2016.[5] The increase in passenger numbers is mainly due to the increased number of routes served by low-cost carriers. Ryanair based one aircraft in Malta from May 2010, increasing to two in May 2012, to three in March 2016 and to four in March 2017.[6] The biggest aircraft coming to Malta on a regular basis is the Boeing 777-300 of Emirates. Due of the airport's long runway it is possible for the Airbus A380 to land; but this does not occur on a regular basis. One of these instances was when, in 2011, a Lufthansa Airbus A380 arrived.[7]

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