Sunday 19 September 2021

Maltese Business Aviation: Challenges of Growth

In recent years, Malta has demonstrated economic resilience and an ability to thrive, even in difficult global contexts. The country has developed a clear strategy for sustainable economic development, identifying key industries with high growth potential – such as aviation – in addition to drafting plans to support the consolidation and success of those key sectors.

Although the aviation industry in Malta began development in the 1970s, it has in recent years seen remarkable growth thanks to extensive investments in infrastructure and human resources, by both the public and private sector.

Similar to other aviation subsectors, business aviation has grown substantially thanks to this favourable environment.

The industry’s rapid growth is, however, putting pressure on the Maltese aviation framework. It is therefore imperative that as the country’s aerospace activity continues to expand and diversify, so does its infrastructure and the support provided by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Business aviation is a specialised travel solution and investment strategy that enables people to meet face-to- face when time matters most. It allows users to have full control over their schedule and travel to at least three times more destinations in Europe than they could relying solely on airlines. For companies, this leads to productivity gains, whilst also allowing them to reach and invest in communities in remote locations, boosting local economic growth in the process.

Airport Access & Capacity

Within an air transportation infrastructure principally designed for airlines, business aviation traditionally operates at the margins of the system, which causes capacity constraints as well as organisational, financial, environmental and security issues. Furthermore, with increased traffic from low-cost airlines anticipated in Malta, the issue of aircraft parking will likely become more pronounced.

Business aviation traffic continues to rise, making airport access ever more troublesome. Even if Malta International Airport is not coordinated by Eurocontrol slots, operators have recently informed our Association that the airport has, on occasion, refused overnight parking in Malta for business aircraft. Additionally, the airport has – on a regular basis – provided aircraft parking on remote stands even for short turn-arounds or, in some cases, have even required aircraft to be repositioned.

The Malta Business Aviation Association would therefore like to work with national officials on:

Securing business aircraft access at Malta International Airport for a defined period in the future. Such access should

include a dedicated apron or aprons permitting off stand aircraft parking.

Ensuring that the provision for a General Aviation Terminal features in the government’s next Airport Strategic Plan.

Sustainability and ensuring a vibrant future in Malta

The business aviation industry is, like any responsible industry, mindful of the environment challenges facing society. To that end, we foster environmental stewardship across our entire value-chain and are gearing up to meet our carbon neutral growth targets by 2020.

One of several pathways is through investment in new aircraft technology, which includes sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF). While significant progress is being made in the realm of SAJF, the availability of this fuel is not yet widespread, making access to it both challenging and costly. We therefore support the creation of policy mechanisms that enable and support the development of local infrastructure to produce and deliver the fuels required by the industry.

Business Aviation: A World of Opportunities will take place between 31 October – 1 November 2019

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