Malta International Airport

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Malta International Airport
Ajruport Internazzjonali ta 'Malta
Luqa Airport / Valletta Airport
Malta International Airport3.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Malta International Airport plc
Serves Malta
Location Luqa, Malta
Hub for Air Malta
Focus city for Ryanair
Elevation AMSL 300 ft / 91 m
Coordinates 35°51′27″N 014°28′39″E / 35.85750°N 14.47750°E / 35.85750; 14.47750Coordinates: 35°51′27″N 014°28′39″E / 35.85750°N 14.47750°E / 35.85750; 14.47750
MLA is located in Malta
Location on a map of Malta
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,377 7,799 Asphalt
13/31 3,544 11,627 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 4,290,380[1]
Aircraft Movements 32,295[1]
Cargo Movements (kg) 15,613,304[1]
Source: Maltese AIP at EUROCONTROL[2]
Statistics from timesofmalta[3]

Malta International Airport (Maltese: Ajruport Internazzjonali ta 'Malta, IATA: MLAICAO: LMML) is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole of the Maltese Islands. It is located on island of Malta, 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.


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.[4]

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%.[5]


Arrivals area
Apron view of the main building

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[edit]

Car hire companies including Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, First Car Rental and Active Car Rental are located in the Welcomers' Hall.

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[edit]

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.

Further facilities[edit]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8] The signal is strong enough in the club to be picked up for several metres radius outside La Vallette itself.

The head office of Medavia is on the airport property.[9]

Pilot Training[edit]

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[edit]

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.[10]

Malta Airport MetOffice[edit]

The Malta Airport MetOffice[11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines
operated by Olympic Air
Seasonal: Athens[14]
airBaltic Seasonal: Riga[15]
Air Berlin Seasonal: Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart
Air Malta Algiers, Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin-Tegel, Brussels, Catania, Djerba, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Manchester, Milan-Linate, Moscow-Domodedovo, Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Rome-Fiumicino, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Vienna, Zürich
Seasonal: Birmingham, Bristol, Budapest, Cardiff, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Exeter, Girona, Glasgow-International, Innsbruck, Larnaca, Lyon, Marseille, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Prague, Tarbes/Lourdes, Venice-Marco Polo
Seasonal charter: Bucharest, Ljubljana, Yerevan
Air Méditerranée Seasonal Toulouse
Air Serbia Seasonal: Belgrade
Alitalia Rome-Fiumicino
British Airways London-Gatwick[16]
Brussels Airlines Seasonal: Brussels
Condor Seasonal: Frankfurt, Düsseldorf
Czech Airlines Seasonal: Prague (begins 11 June 2016)[17]
easyJet London-Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Seasonal: Belfast-International, Milan-Malpensa, Naples[18]
Emirates Dubai-International, Larnaca
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid (begins 18 June 2016)[19] Seasonal: East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Glasgow-International, Newcastle upon Tyne
Libyan Airlines Tripoli
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Luxair Seasonal: Luxembourg
Medavia Seasonal: Palermo[20]
Niki Vienna
Norwegian Air Shuttle Seasonal: Copenhagen, Madrid, Oslo-Gardermoen
Ryanair Bari, Bergamo, Berlin-Schönefeld (begins 3 April 2016), Birmingham, Bologna, Bristol, Budapest (begins 19 March 2016), Cologne/Bonn (begins 19 March 2016), Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Kaunas, Kraków, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Manchester (begins 17 March 2016), Madrid, Marseille, Pisa, Rome-Fiumicino (begins 26 March 2016),[21] Stockholm-Skavsta, Treviso, Turin
Seasonal: Billund, Bournemouth, Gdansk,[22] Girona, Glasgow-Prestwick, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden,[23] Poznan,[23] Trapani, Weeze,[23] Wrocław
Scandinavian Airlines Stockholm-Arlanda
Swiss International Air Lines Seasonal: Zürich
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal: London-Gatwick, Manchester
Thomson Airways Seasonal: London-Gatwick, Manchester
Transaero Airlines Seasonal: Moscow-Domodedovo
Transavia Seasonal: Amsterdam France Paris-Orly, Nantes
TUIfly Seasonal: Hamburg, Hannover
TunisAir Express Tunis
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk[24]
Volotea Seasonal: Catania (begins 24 March 2016)[25]
Vueling Barcelona
Seasonal: Madrid, Rome-Fiumicino
Wizz Air Bucharest, Budapest, Gdańsk, Sofia, Warsaw-Chopin


Air Malta Airbus A319 taxing at Malta International Airport.
British Airways Airbus A320 takeoff from Malta International Airport.
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 taxiing at Malta International Airport.


Busiest International Routes out of Malta International Airport (2014)[5]
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change (vs 2013)
1 United Kingdom London Gatwick Airport 333,052 Increase 24.25
2 Germany Frankfurt Airport 277,075 Increase 10.07
3 Italy Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport 239,830 Increase 15.45
4 United Kingdom London Heathrow Airport 185,718 Decrease 3.12
5 United Kingdom Manchester Airport 160,577 Decrease 3.80
6 Germany Munich Airport 148,175 Increase 4.78
7 Italy Catania Airport 123,199 Increase 13.9
8 United Kingdom Luton Airport 106,546 Increase 6.11
9 France Paris Orly Airport 105,867 Increase 12.44
10 Austria Vienna Airport 95,444 Increase 28.06


Top 10 Passenger Airlines out of Malta International Airport (2014)[5]
Rank Airline Passengers  % Change (vs 2013)
1 Malta Air Malta 1,740,093 Decrease 1.15
2 Republic of Ireland Ryanair 1,096,366 Decrease 0.74
3 United Kingdom EasyJet 328,190 Increase 4.65
4 Germany Lufthansa 224,978 Increase 18.15
5 Italy Alitalia 95,943 Increase 2.67
6 United Arab Emirates Emirates 90,914 Increase 4.46
7 Hungary Wizz Air 86,579 Increase 334.07
8 United Kingdom British Airways 64,049 n/a
9 Spain Vueling 63,816 Increase 28.46
10 Turkey Turkish Airlines 58,745 Increase 204.5

Ground transportation[edit]


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.:[26]

Express Services

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 Julian's) – 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 – Għaxaq – Żejtun – Marsaskala Every 60 mins.
X7 Valletta – Marsa Park & Ride – Airport – Gudja – Għaxaq – Paola – Birgu Every 60 mins.

Other Local Services

The following routes pass through the airport, but are not express services.[27]

Route Number Route (& vice versa) Frequency
117 Airport – Kirkop – Safi – Żurrieq – Qrendi – Mqabba – Airport Every 30 mins.
118 Airport – Mqabba – Qrendi – Żurrieq – Kirkop – Airport Every 30 mins.
135 Airport – Gudja – Bir id-Deheb – Żejtun – Marsaskala Every 30 mins.
201 Airport – Żurrieq – Blue Grotto – Ħaġar Qim – Siġġiewi – Dingli – Rabat Every 60 mins.

Night Buses

Services run between 2300 and 0400 on Friday and Saturday evenings, all year round.

Route Number Route (& vice versa)
N71 San Ġiljan (St Julian's) – Paola – Airport – Żurrieq – Qrendi – Mqabba
N72 San Ġiljan (St Julian's) – Paola – 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[edit]

  • 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.[28]
  • 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.[29] 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.[30] 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[31] 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.[32][33]|


  • 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.[34]
  • 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."[34]
  • 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?][35][36]
  • 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).[35][36][37]


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  2. ^ "EAD Basic – Error Page". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Tunisia tourists diverted to Malta – MIA registers record". Times of Malta. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Error!". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c [1] Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ MIA Shopping
  7. ^ "Error!". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "HOME". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Contact Us." Medavia. Retrieved on April 23, 2013. "P.O. Box 48, Malta International Airport Luqa LQA 4000"
  10. ^ "Contact Us." Air Malta. Retrieved on 23 April 2013. "Air Malta plc Level 2, Skyparks Business Centre Malta International Airport Luqa, Malta. LQA 9020"
  11. ^ "Error!". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Error!". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Error!". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  14. ^ " Flight Comparison & Trip Planner Site". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "airBaltic to Launch Riga- Malta". Press releases. airBaltic. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "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. 
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  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Malta Fly". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
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  22. ^ Malta,
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  24. ^ "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. 
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  26. ^ [2]
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  29. ^ Dutch KLM Boeing 747
  30. ^ "1985: Commandoes storm hijacked plane". BBC. 24 November 1985. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  31. ^ "After nearly 11 years, EgyptAir hijacker sentenced". CNN. October 7, 1996. Retrieved 2007-02-07. [dead link]
  32. ^ "Two Libyan fighter pilots defect, fly to Malta". Reuters. 21 February 2011. 
  33. ^ "Libyan plane carried pilots to fly Mirages back – PM". Times of Malta. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  34. ^ a b "MIA listed among top 15 airports". Times of Malta. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  35. ^ a b "Error!". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  36. ^ a b "ASQ Awards". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  37. ^ "ASQ Award for Best Airport in Europe" Airports Council International. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-13

External links[edit]