Being Malta’s only air terminal, Malta International Airport hosts around 97% of all tourists visiting the Maltese islands. This makes MIA a very important contributor to the local economy, especially since travel and tourism amount to circa 25% of Malta’s Gross Domestic Product, which is a significantly higher percentage than Europe’s average. This apart, Malta International Airport has also been developing its non-aviation segment, and this has contributed to its growth to support, both directly and indirectly, over 15,000 jobs.
Ever since its privatisation in 2002, the company has focused on continuous terminal upgrades as well as on the development of the building’s surrounding campus, so as to be able to cater for an ever-increasing number of passengers, and with a vision to become one of the best European airports.
Over the past years, Malta International Airport’s infrastructure has benefitted from an expenditure of more than €110 million, with some of the most noteworthy upgrades brought about being a terminal expansion, the development of SkyParks Business Centre, a terminal reconfiguration, and the construction of a multi-storey car park.
This reconfiguration project has delivered significant improvements to the terminal, which include the relocation of the Central Security Area (CSA) to a bigger space, the upgrade of the airport’s Baggage Handling System (BHS), the installation of eight additional check-in desks and the refurbishment of existing ones, the unveiling of a new VIP lounge, and a reconceived observation deck.
Malta International Airport announced an ambitious investment in its campus in January 2020: the Terminal Expansion Project.
Through this project, whose commencement had to be halted until 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the terminal building will be developed to eventually occupy double its current footprint, namely 31,200 square metres. The newly created space, achieved through two lateral extensions followed by a frontal one, will allow for a substantial increase in operational areas, more circulation and seating space, and a much wider variety of eateries and retail outlets.
The introduction of new technologies that will have the dual purpose of facilitating more seamless airport journeys and allowing the company to operate more sustainably will be another pillar of the Terminal Expansion Project. Considering that for around 95% of the tourists who visit Malta, Malta International Airport is the entry point, creating a sense of place using materials and design that evoke the islands’ warmth and their Mediterranean offering will be another important facet of the project.
This multi-million project will ensure that guests enjoy a five-star experience as they travel through or visit Malta International Airport while allowing the company to eye future traffic growth.
Phase I: The Westward Expansion
The first phase of the Terminal Expansion Project will entail a 1,550-square-metre westward extension which is set to be completed by the last quarter of 2024. The most significant improvement during this phase of works is the introduction of a new Schengen arrivals route leading directly to the Baggage Reclaim Area. This route will not only ease passenger flows at arrivals but will also permit the installation of the infrastructure required to manage the arrival of third-country nationals as part of the European Union’s Entry/Exit System.
The westward expansion, which forms part of the company’s €250 million investment programme for the period 2023-2028, will further improve the airport journey for incoming passengers through the installation of two new belts at the Baggage Reclaim Area.
This mammoth transformation of the terminal building was put into motion in the last quarter of 2023, with high-traffic landside areas bearing the brunt of the first phase of infrastructural works. However, even as Malta International Airport handles record passenger numbers, the company remains committed to ensuring seamless operations and minimising the inconvenience caused by the ongoing works to all guests.
In July, the Planning Authority approved Malta International Airport’s application to undertake the terminal expansion project, with case number 01286/23. Among the preparatory works that had to be undertaken to pave the way for the start of the westward extension, an extensive plan for the management of existing trees in the area, all of which were planted by the company throughout the years, had to be drafted and made available for public consumption for Environmental Permit 01361/23 to be granted by the Environment and Resources Authority. The approved plan is detailed below.
Malta International Airport will be planting six hundred and seventy new trees at the ECOHIVE complex in Magħtab. This site was earmarked by the Environment and Resources Authority, having been deemed as the ideal area to provide the right conditions, including space and resources, for such a large number of trees most of which are of the same species.
A total of thirty-four trees (fifteen olive trees (Olea europaea), three dragon trees (Dracaena draco), eleven Indian laurels (Ficus microcarpa), one Mediterranean dwarf fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), two sago palms (Cyas revoluta) and two Mexican fan palms (Washingtonia robusta) will be transplanted in different areas around the airport campus, in conformity with the Guidelines of Works Involving Trees (ERA, 2019) under the supervision of a competent person.
Extensive discussions to identify sites for the transplantation of one hundred and thirty-four Italian cypress trees (Cupressus sempervirens), one Canary Island palm (Phoenix canariensis) and one Spanish dagger (Yucca spp.) led to the conclusion that the chances of successful transplantation of these trees would be minimal.
The company will be held responsible for the upkeep of the planted trees for a period of three years and will be bound by a financial guarantee to cover any failures in the fulfilment of its legal obligations concerning this tree-planting and transplanting project.
Published on: 05.12.2023
The construction of Apron X was given the green light in the first quarter of 2022 with an investment of around 40 million euro.
The ongoing project will see the development of an area measuring around 100,000 square metres. This development will significantly improve the airport’s aircraft parking capacity and its ability to better handle mixed-fleet operations, particularly during peak hours in summer. Apron X will introduce new parking stands that can accommodate either seven Code C or three Code E aircraft, with the former being the more common aircraft type to land at Malta International Airport, in addition to 20 existing stands available on Aprons 8 and 9.
Besides equipping Malta International Airport with better aircraft parking capacity, the project will include the construction of a new taxiway and the development of a staging area in a strategic location, housing facilities for essential ground handling operations. These ancillary facilities will complement the main development in contributing to a smoother and more efficient operation on the ground, whilst allowing Malta International Airport to eye further traffic and commercial growth.
The Apron X project is also envisaged to support Malta International Airport in honouring its environmental commitments through the construction of a 10,000 m3 reservoir for better rainwater harvesting and the installation of LED floodlighting systems. Additionally, the project will provide for preparatory works for the electrification of parking stands, in line with Article 12 of the European Union’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Fit for 55, which will provide parked aircraft with access to an electricity supply rather than fuel.
The Company is eyeing the start of summer 2024 for the completion and utilisation of the first parking stands.