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Airport Malta (Malta) - International

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Malta International Airport
Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta
Airport type Public
Owner Malta International Airport plc
Serves Valletta
Location Gudja, Malta
Hub for Air Malta
Focus city for Ryanair
Elevation AMSL 300 ft / 91 m
Coordinates 35°5127N 014°2839E / 35.85750°N 14.47750°E / 35.85750; 14.47750Coordinates: 35°5127N 014°2839E / 35.85750°N 14.47750°E / 35.85750; 14.47750
Website maltairport.com
Location on a map of Malta
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,377 7,800 Asphalt
13/31 3,544 11,627 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 6,014,548[1]
Aircraft Movements 42,987[1]
Cargo & Mail (tonnes) 16,177[1]
Source: Maltese AIP at EUROCONTROL[2]
Statistics from timesofmalta[3]

Malta International Airport (Maltese: Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta, IATA: MLA, ICAO: LMML) is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole of the Maltese Islands. It is located on island of Malta in the town of Gudja, and occupies the location of the former RAF Luqa. It was completely refurbished, becoming fully operational on 25 March 1992. In front of the terminal are located several Aircraft Parking positions where the biggest most frequently visited aircraft for Malta is parked daily, the Boeing 777. In the part of Luqa are other parking slots for planes which aren't as frequently used as the ones in Gudja. All cargo supplies are usually taken to the Luqa parking positions as DHL is quite close to them though there occasionally were circumstances where cargo holds have been parked in Gudja due to busy days. Above Runway 23, there are parking positions which takes in private aircraft such as Leerjets. In the part of Kirkop/Safi/Mqabba stand other hangars which accommodate aircraft maintenance. In Farrug, northwest of the Airfield is located Lufthansa Technik (German) which arranges and gives upgrades to almost every type of aircraft. The Malta International Airport is located 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 countries. The airport is operated by Malta International Airport plc.


The first civil airfield was constructed at Ta' Qali, followed by others at al Far (RAF Hal Far) and Luqa.[when?] During the Second World War, the airfields at Ta' Qali and Hal Far were severely battered and civil operations subsequently centred on Luqa Airport.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

In October 1977, a new and longer runway was launched and works commenced on the extension and refurbishment of the air terminal.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.

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.[4]

Over the last several years, passenger numbers have been increasing, climbing from 3.5 million in 2011 to 4.6 million in 2015. Passenger figures have exceeded 5.0 million in 2016.[5] 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, to three in March 2016 and to four in March 2017.[6] The biggest aircraft coming to Malta on a regular basis is the Boeing 777-300 of Emirates. Due of the airport's long runway it is possible for the Airbus A380 to land; but this does not occur on a regular basis. One of these instances was when, in 2011, a Lufthansa Airbus A380 arrived.[7]


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.

Further facilities

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.[8]

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

Pilot Training

Within the grounds of Malta International Airport are situated several pilot training academies:

  • European Pilot Academy
  • Sky People Aviation Training Ltd
Military use

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 8 fixed-wing aircraft and 6 helicopters as well as manning a pair of Italian Air Force helicopters used for search-and-rescue.

Skyparks Business Centre

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.[10]

Malta Airport MetOffice

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. 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

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Malta:[14]

Aegean Airlines Seasonal: Athens
AirBaltic Seasonal: Riga
Air France Seasonal: Toulouse
Air Malta Amsterdam, Berlin-Tegel (begins 28 October 2018),[15] Brussels, Cagliari,[16] Casablanca, Catania, Comiso, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Leipzig/Halle (begins 31 October 2018),[17] Lisbon, LondonGatwick, LondonHeathrow, London-Southend, Málaga, MilanLinate, MoscowSheremetyevo, Munich, Palermo, ParisCharles de Gaulle, ParisOrly, RomeFiumicino, Tel AvivBen Gurion, Tunis, Vienna, Zürich
Seasonal: Birmingham, Bristol, Bucharest, Geneva, KievBoryspil, Lourdes, Lyon, Manchester, Marseille, Prague, St. Petersburg, Venice
Seasonal charter: Bratislava, Yerevan
Air Serbia Seasonal: Belgrade
Alitalia RomeFiumicino
Atlantic Airways Seasonal: Vágar[18]
British Airways LondonGatwick
Condor Seasonal: Hamburg (ends 7 October 2018)[19]
Czech Airlines Seasonal: Prague
easyJet LondonGatwick, LondonSouthend, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Seasonal: MilanMalpensa, Naples
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Geneva
Eurowings Berlin-Tegel
Emirates DubaiInternational, Larnaca
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid
Jet2.com Seasonal: BelfastInternational, Birmingham, East Midlands, GlasgowInternational, Leeds/Bradford, LondonStansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Luxair Seasonal: Luxembourg
Medavia Seasonal: Palermo
Norwegian Air Shuttle Seasonal: Copenhagen, Madrid, OsloGardermoen
Ryanair Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Beauvais, BelfastInternational, Bergamo, BerlinSchönefeld, Birmingham, Bologna, Bournemouth, Bratislava, Bristol, Budapest, Cardiff (begins 3 April 2019),[20] Catania, Charleroi, Cologne/Bonn, Cork (beings 4 April 2019),[21] Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Exeter (begins 2 April 2019),[20] Gdask, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Kraków, Lamezia Terme (begins 3 April 2019),[20] Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, LondonLuton, LondonStansted, Luxembourg (begins 1 April 2019),[20] Maastricht (begins 1 April 2019),[22] Manchester, Madrid, Marseille, Nantes (begins 2 April 2019),[20] Naples, Nuremberg, Perugia (begins 1 April 2019),[20] Pescara, Pisa, Porto, Poznan, Prestwick, Riga, Sandefjord (begins 3 April 2019),[20] Seville, StockholmSkavsta, Tallinn, Thessaloniki (begins 1 April 2019),[20] Toulouse, Treviso, Turin, Valencia, Vilnius, Wrocaw
Seasonal: Aberdeen, Billund, Girona, Gothenburg, RomeCiampino, RomeFiumicino
Scandinavian Airlines StockholmArlanda
Seasonal: Copenhagen
Small Planet Airlines (Germany) Seasonal charter: BerlinTegel, Cologne/Bonn, Dresden, Hannover, Leipzig/Halle, Stuttgart
Swiss International Air Lines Seasonal: Zürich
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal: Birmingham, Bristol, LondonGatwick, Manchester
Transavia Seasonal: Amsterdam
Transavia France Seasonal: Nantes, ParisOrly
TUI Airways Manchester
Seasonal: Birmingham, Bristol, LondonGatwick
TUI fly Deutschland Seasonal: Cologne/Bonn
Tunisair Express Tunis
Turkish Airlines IstanbulAtatürk
Volotea Seasonal: Bilbao, Bordeaux, Nice
Vueling Barcelona
Wizz Air Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, ClujNapoca, Debrecen (begins 1 April 2019),[23] Katowice, Skopje, Sofia, Vienna, WarsawChopin


Busiest routes
Busiest International Routes out of Malta International Airport (2017)[1]
Rank Airport Passengers handled Airlines % Change (vs 2016)
1 London Gatwick Airport 379,000 Air Malta, British Airways, EasyJet, Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI Airways 9.7
2 Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport 313,000 Air Malta, Alitalia, Ryanair 1.0
3 Frankfurt Airport 300,000 Air Malta, Lufthansa 11.0
4 Catania Airport 289,000 Air Malta, Ryanair 53.4
5 Brussels Airport 240,000 Air Malta, Ryanair 109.6
6 Munich Airport 215,000 Air Malta, Lufthansa, Niki 44.0
7 Manchester Airport 215,000 Air Malta, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI Airways 0.1
8 London Heathrow Airport 193,000 Air Malta 2.5
9 Istanbul Atatürk Airport 150,000 Turkish Airlines 12.8
10 Paris Orly Airport 126,000 Air Malta, Transavia France 0.9
Busiest airlines
Top 10 Passenger Airlines out of Malta International Airport (2016)[5]
Rank Airline Passengers % Change (vs 2015)
1 Ryanair 1,731,881 41.30
2 Air Malta 1,600,408 7.47
3 EasyJet 279,266 15.75
4 Lufthansa 230,965 7.21
5 Wizz Air 177,420 17.33
6 Turkish Airlines 132,521 11.98
7 Alitalia 111,504 24.91
8 Emirates 88,329 3.45
9 British Airways 80,024 0.97
10 Vueling 73,131 8.28

Ground transportation


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.[24]


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

Accidents and incidents

  • 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.[25]
  • 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.[26] 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.[27] EgyptAir Flight 648 was forced to land in Malta enroute 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 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 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.[28][29]
  • 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.[30][31]
  • 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 International.
  • On 27 December 2017, a Dassault Falcon 7X (VP-BZE) which belonged to Michael Ashcroft careened off the apron while parked at the Malta International Airport, and it smashed into a fence and a road before crashing into an office building. The incident is believed to have occurred after the plane's wheel chocks were blown away due to strong winds. No injuries were reported but the plane suffered extensive damage.[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]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report & Financial Statements 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-23. Retrieved 2015-05-10. 
  3. ^ "Tunisia tourists diverted to Malta MIA registers record". Times of Malta. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  5. ^ a b "Corporate - Malta International Airport" (PDF). Miamin.blob.core.windows.net. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "We're now almost Malta's national airline Ryanair". Timesofmalta.com. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "A380 makes first landing in Malta". Timeofmalta.com. Retrieved 31 May 2018. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  9. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2012-07-29 at the Wayback Machine.." 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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  14. ^ maltaairport.com - Flight Timetable retrieved 1 November 2016
  15. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "airmalta resumes Berlin service in W18". 
  16. ^ "Air Malta announces new routes from Southend". 19 February 2018. 
  17. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "airmalta resumes Leipzig service from Nov 2018". 
  18. ^ Atlantic Airways adds Malta seasonal flights in S18 Routesonline. 12 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Timetable" (PDF). www.condor.com. 2018. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ryanair Launches Record Malta Summer 19 Schedule - Ryanair's Corporate Website". corporate.ryanair.com. 
  21. ^ "Ryanair launches new twice-weekly Cork to Malta route". Evening Echo. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018. 
  22. ^ Vernooij, Niek (11 September 2018). "Ryanair start nieuwe route van Maastricht naar Malta". 
  23. ^ "Welcome to the world of opportunity! - Wizz Air". wizzair.com. 
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  25. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  26. ^ "Dutch KLM Boeing 747". Buettni-malta.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  27. ^ "1985: Commandoes storm hijacked plane". BBC. 24 November 1985. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  28. ^ "Two Libyan fighter pilots defect, fly to Malta". Reuters. 21 February 2011. 
  29. ^ "Libyan plane carried pilots to fly Mirages back PM". Times of Malta. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  30. ^ "French citizens killed in surveillance plane crash on Malta". BBC News. 24 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  31. ^ 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. 
  32. ^ Vella, Matthew (27 December 2017). "Private jet of Tory peer Lord Ashcroft 'taxies' off Malta runway into Polidano offices". Malta Today. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. 
  33. ^ Grech, Herman (27 December 2017). "Aircraft blown off apron, smashes into building". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. 
  34. ^ a b "MIA listed among top 15 airports". Times of Malta. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  35. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  36. ^ a b "ASQ Awards". Airportserviesqualityawards.com. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  37. ^ "ASQ Award for Best Airport in Europe" Airports Council International. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-13

External links

Media related to Malta International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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