Malta International Airport
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
|Malta International Airport
Luqa Airport / Valletta Airport
|IATA: MLA – ICAO: LMML|
|Owner||Malta International Airport plc|
|Hub for||Air Malta|
|Focus city for||Ryanair|
|Elevation AMSL||300 ft / 91 m|
Malta International Airport (IATA: MLA, ICAO: LMML) is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole of the Maltese Islands. It is located between Luqa and Gudja and occupies the location of the former RAF Luqa. It was completely re-furbished, becoming fully operational on 25 March 1992. It is still referred to by locals as Luqa Airport, and sometimes as Valletta Airport internationally, as it is located 5 km (3.1 mi) 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 European and other countries. The airport is operated by Malta International Airport plc.
- 1 History
- 2 Airlines and destinations
- 3 Statistics
- 4 Ground transportation
- 5 Incidents and accidents
- 6 Facilities
- 7 Awards
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The first civil airfield was constructed at Ta' Qali, followed by others at Ħal Far (RAF Hal Far) and Luqa. During the Second World War, the airfields at Ta' Qali and Hal Far were severely battered and civil operations subsequently centred on Luqa Airport.
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. 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.
Air traffic constantly increased and new airlines with larger aircraft started operations. The introduction of jet aircraft decreased flying times and consequently attracted more people to travel by air.
In October 1977, a new and longer runway was launched and works commenced on the extension and refurbishment of the air terminal. 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.
Until the construction of the new air terminal was completed, the Government embarked on a further upgrade of the old air terminal. 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 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 March 25, 1992, and the old Luqa passenger terminal was effectively closed down after 35 years.
Ryanair based one aircraft in Malta from May 2010, increasing to two from May 2012.
There was a small increase in the volume of traffic that passed through Malta International Airport in 2011. Passengers were up by 6.46% from the previous year, however aircraft movements were down by 3.16%.
Airlines and destinations
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change (vs 2013)|
|1||London Gatwick Airport||333,052||24.25|
|3||Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport||239,830||15.45|
|4||London Heathrow Airport||185,718||3.12|
|9||Paris Orly Airport||105,867||12.44|
|Rank||Airline||Passengers||% Change (vs 2013)|
Malta International Airport is well-served by public transport.
Arriva Malta buses serve the airport. A mixture of Express services and local services are available.:
|Route Number||Route (& vice versa)||Approx Frequency|
|X1||Airport - Marsa Park & Ride - Pembroke Park & Ride - Mellieħa - Ċirkewwa||Every 45 mins.|
|X2||Airport - Paola - Marsa Park & Ride - Mater Dei - San Ġiljan (St Julians) - Sliema (Ferries)||Every 30 mins.|
|X3||Airport - Paola - Marsa Park & Ride - Birkirkara - Attard - Rabat - Mosta - Buġibba||Every 30 mins.|
|X4||Valletta - Marsa Park & Ride - Airport - Birżebbuġa||Every 30 mins.|
|X5||Valletta - Marsa Park & Ride - Airport - Gudja - Ghaxaq - Iż-Żejtun - Marsaskala||Every 60 mins.|
|X7||Valletta - Marsa Park & Ride - Airport - Gudja - Ghaxaq - Paola - Il-Birgu||Every 60 mins.|
Other Local Services
The following routes pass through the airport, but are not express services.
|Route Number||Route (& vice versa)||Frequency|
|117||Airport - Ħal Kirkop - Ħal Safi - Żurrieq - Qrendi - Mqabba - Airport||Every 30 mins.|
|118||Airport - Mqabba - Qrendi - Żurrieq - Ħal Kirkop - Airport||Every 30 mins.|
|135||Airport - Gudja - Bir id-Deheb - Żejtun - Marsaskala||Every 30 mins.|
|201||Airport - Żurrieq - Blue Grotto - Hagar Qim- Siġġiewi - Dingli - Rabat||Every 60 mins.|
Services run between 2300 and 0400 on Friday and Saturday evenings, all year round.
|Route Number||Route (& vice versa)|
|N71||San Ġiljan (St Julians) - Paola - Airport - Żurrieq - Qrendi - Mqabba|
|N72||San Ġiljan (St Julians) - Paola - Ħal Tarxien - Żejtun - Bir id-Deheb - Gudja - Airport|
The airport is located 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of the capital, Valletta. The city centre and airport are both clearly signposted.
Incidents and accidents
- On 5 January 1960, Vickers Viscount G-AMNY of British European Airways was damaged beyond economic repair at Luqa when it departed the runway after landing following a loss of hydraulic pressure.
- On 25 November 1973, Luqa Airport witnessed the landing of KLM Flight 861. The aircraft, named "Mississippi", was a Boeing 747 hijacked by three young Arabs over Iraqi airspace on a scheduled Amsterdam-Tokyo flight with 247 passengers on board, after the hijackers threatened to blow up the plane when no country would grant landing permission. Most of the passengers and the eight stewardesses were released after negotiations with the Maltese PM Dom Mintoff, who argued with the hijackers that the plane could not possibly take off with both the passengers and the 27,000 gallons of fuel they had demanded, given the (then) short runway. With 11 passengers on board the jumbo jet left Malta to Dubai, where the incident ended without fatalities. The hijack was claimed by the Arab Nationalist Youth Organization.
- On 23 November 1985, Luqa Airport was the scene of one of the deadliest aircraft hijackings in aviation history. EgyptAir Flight 648 was forced to land in Malta en–route to Libya. Unit 777 of the Egyptian counter-terrorism forces was dispatched to deal with the incident. Storming of the Boeing 737, reluctantly authorised by Maltese officials after five hostages were shot, resulted in the death of over 60 passengers plus several security personnel, aircrew and members of the hijackers, the Abu Nidal Organization.
- Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted for the Lockerbie bombing on the theory that he loaded a bomb onto Air Malta Flight KM180 Malta-Frankfurt at Luqa Airport which it is alleged found its way via the interline baggage system onto Pan Am Feeder Flight 103A Frankfurt-London and eventually onto Pan Am Flight 103 London -New York.
- MLA was the origin airport of the Air Malta Flight 830 Malta-Istanbul hijack which ended in Cologne.
- On February 21, 2011, two Libyan fighter pilots, both claiming to be colonels, defected and landed their Mirage F1 jets at the airport after refusing to carry out orders to fire upon a group of civilian Libyan protesters in Tripoli. On the same day two Eurocopter Super Puma helicopters registered in France also landed carrying seven French nationals who were under Italian contracts to work in Libya.|
Malta International Airport air terminal operations include general passenger services, and the operation of an extensive range of retail services at the airport, airside and landside shops, restaurants and other outlets, which are all operated on concession agreements. The airport also leases office space to airlines and other travel related operators at the airport. Malta International Airport is a member of the ACI-EUROPE (Airports Council International) and a number of company officials sit on specialised committees and working groups within this council.
Transport and parking
Taxis are available 24 hours a day from the airport to any destination in Malta. Fixed rates are applicable and pre-paid tickets can be purchased from the ticket booth inside the Welcomers' Hall on Arrivals. Alternatively it is recommended to book a private hire cab prior to arrival.
The airport car parking has considerably increased during 2009. It offers therefore a larger capacity for parking handled and managed by MIA.
Shopping and eating
Shops at the airport include news kiosk, florist and tax-free outlets, Food and Beverage outlets. A number of them are accessible to the public (arrivals and check-in hall area). It has also opened a new food court - the Jet Express - inside the Departure Lounge. Jet Express is the latest addition to the array of outlets under the Airport Value brand and provides an open-air court offering a large variety of beverages, snacks and hot meals.
Automated money exchange dispensers and ATM are available on the passengers area and arrivals. Also a 24 hour service of exchange bureau can be find on arrivals area. In addition, there is a post office and a telecommunications centre, located in the terminal. Wireless Internet access is available throughout the airport. A left luggage service is available 24-hours a day, as is a luggage secure-wrapping service.
Malta International Airport has improved services for disabled and reduced mobility people to ensure an easier transit through the airport terminal to the aircraft and similarly on return. The terminal has wheelchair-accessible toilets, ramps and low-level payphones. Reserved parking spaces are available in the car park. Wheelchairs are available on request from the Customer Services Centre.
Through La Valette Club, VIP members have an access to lounges: La Valette Lounge (departures and arrivals). Internet access is available to lounge users with free Wi-Fi throughout the area. The signal is strong enough in the club to be picked up for several metres radius outside La Vallette itself. As of October 2014, the password for the club's WiFi is 'lavallette'.
Within the grounds of Malta International Airport is situated several pilot training academies:
- European Pilot Academy
- Sky People Aviation Training Ltd
- Diamond Aviation
- Buzz Flying Ltd - microlight training
Skyparks Business Centre
Located within the grounds of Malta International Airport, Skyparks is situated in one of Malta's most commercially oriented districts. It is the first building in Malta to have applied for BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) certification to become the island's first Grade A office park. The head office of Air Malta is at Level 2 of the Skyparks Business Centre.
Malta Airport MetOffice
The Malta Airport MetOffice is part of the Malta International Airport and provides the function of a national meteorological service for Malta. Although they primarily serve aviation they also service the public sector.
All equipment, other than the Doppler Weather Radar, is enhanced by automatic weather stations, of which eight are situated in Malta and Gozo. At the same time an aerodrome weather observation system is located at the airport and meets World Meteorological Organization/International Civil Aviation Organization standards. All of the automated stations meet the ISO 9001:2008 standards.
The MetOffice is able to get information from the Agencia Estatal de Meteorología in Madrid and the UK's Met Office along with numerical weather models such as those provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, England.
In 2010 Malta International Airport was awarded the title of "Most Noteworthy Airport for a New Small Budget Programme"[clarification needed] by Passenger Terminal World, the international review of airport design, technology, security, operations and management. The airport is classified among the top 15 airports worldwide, joining Dubai, Brussels, San Francisco, Stockholm, Heathrow, Changi, Barcelona and Vienna, which were also awarded.
The Passenger Terminal World Annual 2010 said "When a new terminal can cost US$1.5 billion it is hard to think that many wonderful airports are being developed for a fraction of that sum, but Malta Airport is one such. With its current development programme it is a small airport with big plans – improving the commercial offer, enlarging security and other essential services, and gaining plaudits from the country's population."
The company has picked up an international award for service quality: Best Airport in its category (1-5 million passengers) at the ACI Europe Awards and the Best Airport in Europe across all categories in the ACI Airport Service Quality (ASQ Survey).[when?]
In addition it also won Best Airport in its category (1-5 million passengers) at the ACI Europe Awards and the Best Airport in Europe across all categories in the ACI Airport Service Quality (ASQ Survey).
- EAD Basic
- Tunisia tourists diverted to Malta - MIA registers record
- Malta International Airport
- "airBaltic to Launch Riga- Malta". Press releases. airBaltic. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "British Airways To Launch New Daily Direct Flights To Malta From March 2014" (Press release). British Airways. 4 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013.
- Medavia begins MLA-PMO route
- "Turkish Airlines arrive à Malte, Friedrichshafen" [Turkish Airlines arrives in Malta, Friedrichshafen] (in French). Air Journal. 12 February 2013. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- Dutch KLM Boeing 747
- "1985: Commandoes storm hijacked plane". BBC. 24 November 1985. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
- "After nearly 11 years, EgyptAir hijacker sentenced". CNN. October 7, 1996. Retrieved 2007-02-07.[dead link]
- "Two Libyan fighter pilots defect, fly to Malta". Reuters. 21 February 2011.
- Libyan plane carried pilots to fly Mirages back - PM
- MIA Shopping
- Persons with Reduced Mobility
- La Valette Club
- "Contact Us." Medavia. Retrieved on April 23, 2013. "P.O. Box 48, Malta International Airport Luqa LQA 4000"
- "Contact Us." Air Malta. Retrieved on 23 April 2013. "Air Malta plc Level 2, Skyparks Business Centre Malta International Airport Luqa, Malta. LQA 9020"
- Malta International Airport MetOffice
- Weather News
- A new Meteorological Office at MIA
- MIA listed among top 15 airports
- MIA wins ACI Europe's Best Airport Award 2010 in its category
- Airport Service Quality Awards Industry Recognition of the Best Airports in the World
- "ASQ Award for Best Airport in Europe" Airports Council International. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-13
Media related to Malta International Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Current weather for LMML at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for MLA at Aviation Safety Network