In April 2020, Malta International Airport (MIA) announced it would be putting certain investments – such as the Terminal Expansion Project – on hold, and shift its focus to essential projects and works as part of a wider cost-cutting and liquidity preservation programme.
Works on two important investments that had already reached an advanced stage when the pandemic hit – namely the construction of Park East and the Cargo Village Project – went on as planned, with Park East becoming operational in November 2020 and the first phase of the Cargo Village recently reaching completion.
The company is currently assessing investments on a case-by-case basis, and, besides yesterday’s call for tenders in relation to the Apron X development, a few weeks ago it also issued a call for tenders in relation to the overhaul of the airport’s food court.
“It was inevitable that certain plans had to be revisited and the forecasts published at the beginning of the year withdrawn,” said the spokesperson.
“However, at a high level, our priorities remain largely unchanged: the guest experience continues to be of utmost importance, but with a much stronger focus on health and safety considerations, and we shall continue to undertake strategic investments in order to further bolster the company’s resilience.”
The spokesperson continued, “Sustainability – both in the environmental and the economic sense – will also continue to be a pillar of our company strategy. With regard to environmental sustainability, this week we issued a call for tenders for the installation and commissioning of a 750 KWp PV system on the roof of our new multi-storey car park – Park East.”
“The Apron X project is also designed to support the company in reaching certain environmental targets related to emissions and water usage.”
Asked for updates about the SkyParks hotel, the spokesperson said that a call for proposals for its operation was issued prior to the pandemic, with a number of bids received in relation to the call.
Meanwhile, a final decision on whether to forge ahead with the SkyParks II development is expected to be taken towards the end of 2021.
MIA has suffered a torrid 2020, but recent news about the availability of vaccines provides hope of a rebound.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last month saw passenger movement down 92 per cent when compared to the same period of last year. However, MIA is using this opportunity afforded by the downtime to lay the groundwork for strategic investments which are envisaged to support the medium-term recovery.
A spokesperson for the airport said, “given the extent of the COVID-19 impact on Malta International Airport – and the whole aviation industry – the road to reach pre-COVID-19 levels is expected to be long and winding. However, the resilience of our industry and the fact that there is a pent-up demand for travel give us hope that we will rebound.”
The airport expects to start seeing signs of recovery in the second half of 2021, and says that its main responsibility will be to rebuild the route network in close cooperation with local tourism stakeholders and partner airlines, keeping a balanced business mix which will ensure sustainable growth.
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Seat Load Factor also stood strong during the period, with an increase of 6.8% when compared to 2019