MIA is seeking to expand its parking capacity on the airfield and is looking for support from the government to implement this expansion before the space shortage becomes a greater challenge, MIA CEO Alan Borg has confirmed.
“Up until May 2017, Malta International Airport saw a 21% increase in traffic over the same five month period last year and in excess of 5.2 million passengers are expected to pass through the airport this year. In view of this staggering growth, expanding our aircraft parking capacity on the airfield is on our radar, and we are seeking support from Government to increase our parking capabilities as this may become a challenge in the short to medium term,” he told The Business Observer.
When asked whether this meant that there were also any runway expansion plans for the near future, Mr Borg replied in the negative. “Considering the current growth patterns, our dual runway system is sufficient for our long-term traffic projections – for comparison’s sake, Gatwick Airport, which handles over 40 million passengers a year operates with a single runway.”
The increased activity at the airport has in recent years led to a car parking problem within the parking facilities already available and to this effect, plans have been drawn for a new car park. Mr Borg confirmed that the MIA has kick-started a tender process for the development of an overground multi-storey car park on the airport campus, which will accommodate at least 1,500 cars. “Car parking has become a real challenge, especially during our peak periods. Our plan is to be able to start the works on this in 2018 and we envisage that they will take around a year to complete.”
MIA is also still actively working on getting the permits in hand for the development of SkyParks 2. The development, plans for which were announced in 2015, is expected to occupy a 4,000-square-metre footprint and provide office space for 1,700 employees.
“Our vision is for this building to become a beacon of innovation, providing a work space that stimulates and helps start-ups establish themselves. As mentioned, what’s exciting about this second centre is that it includes plans for a business hotel, which will give us a new edge and benefit both existing and potential customers. Guests will have access to all the services and amenities offered by SkyParks Business Centre, while enjoying the convenience of its proximity to the airport,” Mr Borg said.
MIA is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment effort, known as the Terminal Reconfiguration Project, which started in September 2016, and is now well underway. “The €28m project, which is being executed in two major phases, will primarily ensure that the terminal’s capacity adequately matches our increasing number of passengers. The first phase addresses two important areas which are key to the passenger’s journey – check-in and security. Once completed, our terminal will be furnished with at least eight additional check-in desks and a security area which is double its current footprint. This phase alone is a crucial milestone in enabling us to provide our guests with a more efficient, and in turn enjoyable, airport experience.
The first phase of the project, estimated at €12m, has already seen several milestones completed. Improved access to Baggage Reclaim, including new escalators, lifts and stairs have been installed to improve our passenger flows in this area,” Mr Borg said.
“As Terminal Reconfiguration works are well underway, our focus for this year is on mitigating the effects of these works, to continue to offer the best experience possible to our guests, in line with our vision. Armed with sensible investments, growth projections, and the support of our employees, guests, shareholders, and stakeholders, we journey on confidently and responsibly,” Mr Borg concluded.
A full version of this article originally appeared in the June issue of The Business Observer.