While uncertainty persists around international travel, with the spectre of a new variant weighing at the back of travel stakeholders, Malta International Airport (MIA) CEO Alan Borg remarked that the airport has a responsibility to take long-term decisions about its strategic direction, after the company’s board of directors on Monday greenlit an investment of almost €40 million for the construction of a new apron.

“At this critical juncture, we have the responsibility to start taking long-term decisions, even if they may appear to be at odds with the current aviation environment, that will determine the future of the local tourism industry.

“[Monday’s] approval of the Apron X investment is Malta International Airport’s strongest statement yet about its confidence in the industry’s ability to recovery to pre-pandemic levels, as well as its potential to grow further and achieve new records,” said Mr Borg.   

The investment in a new apron will equip the airport with the aerodrome infrastructure needed to handle future growth, MIA said in a statement.

The Apron X project will see the development of an area measuring around 100,000 square metres, roughly comparable to the size of 14 football pitches. This development will significantly improve the airport’s aircraft parking capacity and its ability to better handle mixed-fleet operations, particularly during peak hours in summer.

Apron X will introduce new parking stands that can accommodate either seven Code C or three Code E aircraft, with the former being the more common aircraft type to land at MIA, in addition to 20 existing stands available on Aprons 8 and 9.

Besides equipping MIA with better aircraft parking capacity, the multi-million project will include the construction of a new taxiway, which would improve accessibility to the new apron, and the development of a staging area in a strategic location, housing facilities for essential ground handling operations. These ancillary facilities will complement the main development in contributing to a smoother and more efficient operation on the ground, whilst allowing Malta International Airport to eye further traffic and commercial growth.

The Apron X project is also envisaged to support MIA in honouring its environmental commitments through the construction of a 10,000 m3 reservoir for better rainwater harvesting and the installation of LED floodlighting systems. Additionally, the project will provide for preparatory works for the electrification of parking stands, in line with Article 12 of the European Union’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Fit for 55, which will provide parked aircraft with access to an electricity supply rather than fuel.

Works on the project are expected to commence in the coming weeks once the local Planning Authority issues a permit for this development. While the Company is eyeing the start of summer 2024 for the completion and utilisation of the first parking stands, the full project is expected to be concluded in 2026.   

Featured Image:

Aerial view of the area designated for the development of Apron X, flanked by Apron 9 and Apron 8 in the distance

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