Jump to content

Malta International Airport

Coordinates: 35°51′27″N 014°28′39″E / 35.85750°N 14.47750°E / 35.85750; 14.47750
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Malta International Airport

L-Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta
Airport typePublic
OwnerMalta International Airport plc
LocationLuqa, Malta
Hub forKM Malta Airlines Universal Air
Operating base forRyanair (Malta Air)
Elevation AMSL300 ft / 91 m
Coordinates35°51′27″N 014°28′39″E / 35.85750°N 14.47750°E / 35.85750; 14.47750
MLA/LMML is located in Malta
Location on a map of Malta
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,377 7,799 Asphalt/concrete
13/31 3,544 11,627 Asphalt/concrete
Statistics (2023 [1])
Passenger change 22-23Increase 33.4%
Aircraft movements51,353
Movements change 21-22Increase 60%
Cargo (kilos)20,645,000
Cargo change 22-23Increase 17.6%
  • RWY source: ARINC eff. 2020-01-30[2]

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 on the island of Malta, southwest of the Maltese capital, Valletta, in the town of Luqa, and occupies the location of the former RAF Luqa. The airport serves as the main hub for KM Malta Airlines and Medavia besides being an operating base for Ryanair and its subsidiary Malta Air. It is also home to the Area Control Center and hosts the annual Malta Airshow. The airport is operated by Malta International Airport plc.

In the past, it was the hub of Air Malta, now replaced by KM Malta Airlines since March 2024.


Early years[edit]

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 Ħal Far were severely battered and civil operations subsequently centred on Luqa Airport.[3]

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 £300,000 project.[citation needed] Malta's new passenger air terminal at Luqa was inaugurated on 31 March 1958 by 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.[3] 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 a change in government in 1987, the new administration decided that the 35-year-old terminal was past its time (Luqa Terminal) and therefore gave the green light for the construction of a new air terminal along Park 9 (now located in Gudja).[citation needed][4]

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.

Development since the 1990s[edit]

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.[5] In November 1995, Balkan Bulgarian Airlines introduced a flight from Sofia to New York City that stopped in Malta. The service on Boeing 767s resulted from a partnership between Balkan and Air Malta.[6][7][8]

Its passenger numbers have increased from 3.5 million in 2011 to 6 million in 2017.[9] 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, three in March 2016, four in March 2017, five in March 2018 and further to six in April 2019.[10] The largest aircraft visiting Malta International Airport regularly is the daily Emirates Boeing 777-300. The airport has received occasional visits by the Airbus A380, usually for repainting at one of the local maintenance facilities.[11]


Arrivals area
Apron view of the main building


The airport has a single passenger terminal which became fully operational on 25 March 1992. This replaced the old Luqa terminal which is by 2020 mostly used for cargo. 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 offers one VIP lounge, the La Valette Club.[12] The airport also hosts several maintenance facilities including those operated by Lufthansa Technik and SR Technics.[citation needed]

Other facilities[edit]

The head office of Medavia is on the airport property.[13]

Located within the grounds of Malta International Airport, the Business Centre is the first building in Malta to have applied for BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) 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.[14]

The Malta Airport MetOffice[15] 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.[16] 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. 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.[17]

Military usage[edit]

The Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta is based at Malta International Airport. The Air Wing terminal consists of six hangars. The Air Wing operates a total of four fixed-wing aircraft, six helicopters[18] and a UAV.[19]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Malta:[20]

Aegean Airlines[21] Athens
Air France[citation needed] Seasonal: Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air Serbia[22] Belgrade[22]
airBaltic[23] Seasonal: Riga, Tallinn[24]
British Airways[25] London–Gatwick
easyJet[26] Liverpool (begins 10 December 2024),[27] London–Gatwick, Manchester
Seasonal: Amsterdam,[28] Basel/Mulhouse,[29] Bristol, Geneva, Milan–Malpensa, Naples, Nice (begins 27 June 2024)[30]
Emirates[31] Dubai–International, Larnaca
Eurowings Düsseldorf[32]
Seasonal: Hamburg[32]
Israir Airlines[33] Seasonal: Tel Aviv
ITA Airways[34] Rome–Fiumicino
Seasonal: Milan–Linate
Jet2.com[35] Manchester
Seasonal: Belfast–International,[36] Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh,[37] Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool (begins 1 May 2025),[38] London–Stansted, Newcastle upon Tyne
KM Malta Airlines[39][40] Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Catania, Düsseldorf, London–Gatwick, London–Heathrow, Lyon, Madrid, Milan–Linate, Munich, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly, Prague,[41] Rome–Fiumicino, Vienna, Zürich
Lufthansa[citation needed] Frankfurt, Munich
Luxair[42] Luxembourg[43]
MedSky Airways[44] Misrata, Tripoli–Mitiga
Norwegian Air Shuttle[45] Seasonal: Copenhagen, Oslo
Ryanair[46] Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Belfast–International,[47] Bergamo, Billund, Birmingham, Bologna, Bordeaux, Bournemouth, Bratislava, Bucharest–Otopeni, Budapest, Cagliari, Catania, Charleroi, Cologne/Bonn, Dublin, Edinburgh, Gdańsk, Katowice,[48] Kraków, Lisbon, Liverpool,[49] London–Luton, London–Stansted, Lourdes, Madrid, Manchester, Marseille, Memmingen,[50] Milan–Malpensa, Nantes, Naples, Niš, Pisa, Porto, Poznan, Riga, Rome–Fiumicino, Sofia, Stockholm–Arlanda,[51] Tel Aviv,[52] Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Trapani, Treviso, Trieste, Turin, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw–Modlin, Wrocław, Zagreb
Seasonal: Beauvais, Chania, East Midlands, Eindhoven, Lamezia Terme, Luxembourg,[53] Norwich,[54] Paphos, Parma, Perugia,[53] Pescara, Seville, Shannon,[53] Valencia
Swiss International Air Lines[55] Seasonal: Zürich
Transavia[56] Seasonal: Nantes, Paris–Orly
Tunisair Express[57] Tunis
Turkish Airlines[58] Istanbul
Universal Air Athens,[59] Palermo,[59] Pécs[60]
Seasonal: Corfu,[59] Ibiza,[59] Prague[61]
Vueling[62] Barcelona
Seasonal: Bilbao
Wizz Air[63] Belgrade, Bucharest–Otopeni, Budapest, Katowice, Skopje, Warsaw–Chopin


Luqa airfield in 1941
Airspeed Ambassador G-ALZW of British European Airways, at Luqa airport in October 1956
EgyptAir Boeing 707 at Malta International Airport in 1985
Belgian C-130H and Royal Navy Merlin HM.2 at the 2015 Malta International Airshow. The airport has hosted the event since the 1990s.
Annual passenger traffic at MLA airport. See Wikidata query.

Busiest routes (by country)[edit]

Busiest international routes out of Malta International Airport by country (2022)[1]
Rank Country Passenger Movements % Change (vs 2021)
1  Italy 1,321,371 Increase 169.65
2  United Kingdom 1,059,286 Increase 120.24
3  France 567,855 Increase 137.05
4  Germany 557,736 Increase 80.51
5  Poland 278,595 Increase 115.74
6  Spain 215,000 Increase 125.20
7  Turkey 149,466 Increase 87.25
8  Belgium 149,415 Increase 79.24
9  Switzerland 139,733 Increase 107.08
10  Austria 133,400 Increase 95.50

Busiest airlines[edit]

Top 10 passenger airlines out of Malta International Airport (2016)[9]
Rank Airline Passengers % Change (vs 2015)
1 Ryanair 1,731,881 Increase 41.30
2 Air Malta 1,600,408 Decrease 7.47
3 EasyJet 279,266 Decrease 15.75
4 Lufthansa 230,965 Increase 7.21
5 Wizz Air 177,420 Increase 17.33
6 Turkish Airlines 132,521 Increase 11.98
7 Alitalia 111,504 Increase 24.91
8 Emirates 88,329 Decrease 3.45
9 British Airways 80,024 Decrease 0.97
10 Vueling 73,131 Decrease 8.28

Ground transportation[edit]


Malta International Airport is served also by several buses operated by private transportation groups and public transport operated by Malta Public Transport. Malta Public Transport buses serve the airport. A mixture of Express and local services are available.[64]


The airport is located 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of the capital, Valletta.

Accidents and incidents[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.[65]
  • 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 Prime Minister 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.[66] 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 before the September 11 attacks.[67] 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 and aircrew as well as the hijackers, members of the Abu Nidal Organization.
  • Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted for the 1988 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. In August 2009, al-Megrahi was released from Greenock Prison on compassionate grounds prior to returning to Tripoli, Libya for the final three years before his death in May 2012.
  • MLA was the origin airport of the Air Malta Flight 830 Malta-Istanbul hijack which ended at Cologne Bonn Airport.[citation needed]
  • On 21 February 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.[68][69]
  • On 24 October 2016, a CAE Aviation Fairchild Merlin twin turboprop crashed on take-off a short distance from the runway. All five people on board were killed. The aircraft was taking part in a French-led surveillance operation to counter people smuggling.[70][71]
  • On 23 December 2016 Afriqiyah Airways Flight 209, operated by an Airbus A320, was hijacked while en route from Sabha Airport to Tripoli International Airport in Libya, and diverted to Malta.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Annual Review 2022" (PDF). Malta International Airport.
  2. ^ "LMML – Malta Gudja Airport". SkyVector. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020. Data source: ARINC Data Effective 2020-01-30 0901Z
  3. ^ a b "History of Malta International Airport". Malta International Airport. 25 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Malta airport". AtoB Transfers. 5 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Error!". Archived from the original on 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  6. ^ "Malta-New York direct from November". Malta Aviation Network. September 1995. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Balkan/Malta link-up". Flight International. 29 August 1995. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  8. ^ Verchere, Ian (31 January 1997). "Sea change". Airline Business. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Corporate - Malta International Airport" (PDF). Miamin.blob.core.windows.net. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  10. ^ "We're now almost Malta's national airline – Ryanair". Timesofmalta.com. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  11. ^ "A380 makes first landing in Malta". Timesofmalta.com. 19 March 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Malta Airport Lounge Review – La Valette Club - What's it really like?". Thrifty Points. 2018-12-12. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  13. ^ "Contact Us". Medavia. Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  14. ^ "Contact Us". Air Malta. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  15. ^ "Malta International Airport". Archived from the original on 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  16. ^ "Error!". Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  17. ^ "Malta International Airport". Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  18. ^ Embraer, In association with. "World Air Forces directory 2022". Flight Global. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  19. ^ Gruber, Jan (2021-05-10). "Malta: Air forces deploy first drone". Aviation.Direct. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  20. ^ "Malta International Airport Flight Schedule | 2-week schedule". Maltairport.com. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  21. ^ "Route Map". Aegean Airlines.
  22. ^ a b "Air Serbia to restore Malta service". 27 September 2022.
  23. ^ Orban, André (21 February 2022). "airBaltic adds flights to Malta, Yerevan, Baku". Aviation24.be. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  24. ^ Orban, André (August 29, 2023). "airBaltic announces 11 new routes in Summer 2024".
  25. ^ "British Airways - Timetables". Britishairways.com.
  26. ^ "Flight Timetables". Easyjet.com.
  27. ^ https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/air/easyjet-service-from-liverpool-to-malta-takes-off-in-december
  28. ^ "EasyJet start lijndienst van Schiphol naar Malta". 7 November 2023.
  29. ^ "News for Airlines, Airports and the Aviation Industry | CAPA".
  30. ^ "News for Airlines, Airports and the Aviation Industry | CAPA".
  31. ^ "Emirates to restart flights to Malta via Larnaca". Independent.com.mt.
  32. ^ a b "Eurowings - new routes".
  33. ^ "Israir NS22 Network Additions Update - 03Apr22". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  34. ^ "ITA Airways World". ITA Airways.
  35. ^ "Flight Timetables | Jet2.com". Archived from the original on 2019-07-14. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  36. ^ "Jet2.com and Jet2holidays". Belfast International Airport. 2023-02-14. Retrieved 2023-04-08.
  37. ^ https://www.jet2.com/news/2023/09/Major_expansion_at_Edinburgh_Airport_new_routes_additional_capacity_and_extra_aircraft_
  38. ^ "Jet2 puts 16m seats on sale for summer 2025".
  39. ^ "New airline replacing Air Malta to fly on March 31, 2024". 2 October 2023.
  40. ^ "Homepage Düsseldorf Airport".
  41. ^ "KM Malta Airlines gets licensed, details launch network". ch-aviation.com. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  42. ^ "Timetable | Luxair". Luxair.lu.
  43. ^ "Luxair optimises its Winter flight schedule and introduces two additional destinations for next Summer season". 14 October 2022.
  44. ^ "Valletta - Medsky Airways".
  45. ^ "Find flights to 150+ destinations worldwide | Norwegian". Archived from the original on 2021-05-12. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  46. ^ "Book cheap flights using Fare Finder Ryanair". Ryanair.com.
  47. ^ "Ryanair Expected to Launch New Routes from Belfast for Summer '24".
  48. ^ "Nowe trasy z Katowic! Włochy, Malta, Chorwacja i Hiszpania od 258 PLN".
  49. ^ "Rayanir website". Ryanair.com. [not specific enough to verify]
  50. ^ "Neue Sommerstrecken von Ryanair ab Memmingen" [New Ryanair summer routes from Memmingen] (in German). AeroTelegraph. 2022-11-17.
  51. ^ "Rayanir website". Ryanair.com. [not specific enough to verify]
  52. ^ Lifshitz-Klieger, Iris (4 April 2024). "Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair to resume Israel operations". Ynetnews. Retrieved 6 April 2024.
  53. ^ a b c "Ryanair NW23 Network Changes – 17SEP23".
  54. ^ "Ryanair will fly to THREE new Mediterranean destinations from Norwich Airport". 5 December 2023.
  55. ^ "Timetable | Find flight connections online | SWISS". Archived from the original on 2021-01-16. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  56. ^ "Flight status Transavia | View current flight times". Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  57. ^ "Tunisair Express flight schedule". Tunisairexpress.net. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  58. ^ "Current Flight Plan | Coronavirus | Turkish Airlines". Archived from the original on 2021-01-04. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  59. ^ a b c d "Malta's Universal Air to launch scheduled ops out of Malta". 13 March 2024.
  60. ^ "Universal Air verbindet München mit ungarischer Stadt Pécs". 13 February 2024.
  61. ^ "Universal Air unveils expanded summer schedule with four new routes". 16 April 2024.
  62. ^ "Where we fly". Archived from the original on 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  63. ^ "WIZZ – Dream more. Live more. Be more". wizzair.com.
  64. ^ "Arriva - Routes & timetables > Airport Express". Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  65. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  66. ^ "Dutch KLM Boeing 747". Buettni-malta.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  67. ^ "1985: Commandoes storm hijacked plane". BBC. 24 November 1985. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
  68. ^ "Two Libyan fighter pilots defect, fly to Malta". Reuters. 21 February 2011.
  69. ^ "Libyan plane carried pilots to fly Mirages back – PM". Times of Malta. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  70. ^ "French citizens killed in surveillance plane crash on Malta". BBC News. 24 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  71. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (24 October 2016). "Malta plane crash latest: French customs officials killed during take-off for people smuggling mission in Libya". The Independent. Retrieved 24 October 2016.

External links[edit]

Media related to Malta International Airport at Wikimedia Commons