The extension of Malta International Airport’s (MIA) apron will benefit the airport and the Maltese tourism industry, by allowing the airport to cater to a greater number of commercial airlines which want to commence or boost their activity on the island.
“Malta International Airport will be kicking off the project immediately by engaging a firm to develop the designs for the area,” Alan Borg, CEO of the Malta International Airport told The Malta Business Observer. “With the development of this new apron, the airport will be in a better position to cater for growing demand by commercial airlines wishing to start or increase their operations to Malta.”
The expansion of MIA’s apron on a piece of land located within the boundaries of the airport perimeter was granted through a parliamentary resolution passed early this month. The area is around 48,000sqm in size, and is located between the current Apron 8 and Apron 9. The new aircraft parking area will be able to accommodate up to seven Code C aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320, the likes of which currently make up 98 per cent of the airport’s schedule, according to MIA. This new parking area also gives the airport the alternative possibility to accommodate four Code E aircraft, such as the Boeing 777.
A total 6.77 million passengers are expected to pass through Malta International Airport by the end of the year, an increase of 13 per cent over 2017.
Traffic for the first half of the year grew by 16.3 per cent, surpassing initial projections and prompting the company to revise its original forecast. In a press conference, CEO Alan Borg noted that indications showed that 2018 would go down on record as the airport's eighth year of uninterrupted traffic growth.
Meanwhile, MIA’s investment programme is already looking into plans for the next phase, which is the terminal expansion, a €40m investment which will equip the airport with more check-in desks, increased circulation space, additional seating, as well as more dining options to continue to amplify the experience for passengers passing through MIA.
This phase follows the completion of works related to the €12m terminal reconfiguration project, which started in September 2016. “This project has already improved key processes in the passenger journey. This coming October we will enter the last phase when works will be resumed on the new baggage handling system situated behind the check-in desks, in advance of the next summer schedule,” Mr Borg said. Additionally, this year, works are set to start on a €20m multi-storey carpark, which will provide around 1,300 parking spaces within the airport campus, and will also accommodate car rental facilities within.
Furthermore, plans have been set into motion for the construction of SkyParks II – a €40 million project with commercial and office space, as well as a business hotel, six years after the inauguration of the first SkyParks Business Centre.
“Following our masterplan approval and in line with our aim of developing the airport campus, our team is currently working on putting together a business plan which will then enable us to enter the design phase of the project,” Mr Borg said. “The new building will comprise commercial and office space totalling 18,000sqm, and a 4,100sqm business hotel. Detailed plans are still underway for the business hotel, and we are currently in discussions with a number of operators.” Mr Borg said that the success of the SkyParks Business Centre, which was inaugurated in September 2012, had generated further demand for quality office space, “not just externally but also from existing tenants wishing to expand their footprint.”
Excerpts from this article originally appeared in The Malta Business Observer