Being Malta’s only air terminal, Malta International Airport hosts around 97% of all tourists visiting the Maltese islands. This makes MIA a very important contributor to the local economy, especially since travel and tourism amount to circa 25% of Malta’s Gross Domestic Product, which is a significantly higher percentage than Europe’s average. This apart, Malta International Airport has also been developing its non-aviation segment, and this has contributed to its growth to support, both directly and indirectly, over 15,000 jobs.
Ever since its privatisation in 2002, the company has focused on continuous terminal upgrades, as well as on the development of the building’s surrounding campus, so as to be able to cater for an ever-increasing number of passengers, and with a vision to become one of the best European airports.
Over the past 16 years, Malta International Airport’s infrastructure has benefitted from an expenditure of more than €110 million, with some of the most noteworthy upgrades brought about being a terminal expansion, the development of SkyParks Business Centre, and a recent terminal reconfiguration that will enable further traffic growth.
This reconfiguration project has delivered significant improvements to the terminal, which include the relocation of the Central Security Area (CSA) to a bigger space, the upgrade of the airport’s Baggage Handling System (BHS), the installation of eight additional check-in desks and the refurbishment of existing ones, the unveiling of a new VIP lounge, and a reconceived observation deck.
With the Terminal Reconfiguration Project set to be completed by summer 2018, Malta International Airport is now looking ahead to effecting its investment programme covering the next five years. This programme is expected to continue to solidify the company’s role in the local economy, as it enables it to further grow both its aviation and non-aviation segments.
The company’s investment programme was revised following the recent approval of its comprehensive master plan. The approval was granted following an Environmental Impact Assessment, as part of which a public consultation period opened up the opportunity to local stakeholders, environmental NGOs, and government authorities to review the masterplan and submit their observations and recommendations.
The master plan will be executed in three major phases, which are envisaged to:
- Equip the existing terminal with additional capacity so as to be able to cater for future growth in passenger numbers, especially considering that the airport has been registering a steady year-on-year increase in traffic;
- Continue evolving the airport complex into an easily accessible business and leisure hub, in line with the international trend that is seeing airports move away from serving solely as passageways to the world;
- Benefit, and add value to, the southern region by creating more leisure, recreational, business and convenient facilities in this part of the island;
- Generate further employment opportunities.
In line with its aim of developing the airport into more than just a terminal, and following the success of SkyParks Business Centre, Malta International Airport will soon set into motion works on the construction of SkyParks II with an investment of €40 million.
Moreover, a preliminary study conducted by a third party indicated that the office market in Malta is far from being developed, and that businesses seeking alternative locations to more sought-after and central regions often find that high-quality office space is limited. SkyParks II will cater for this demand by providing commercial and office space, room for double-height showrooms, and introducing a business hotel to the southern region.
Located just minutes away from the terminal, this hotel is envisaged to enable travellers who fly in for the sole purpose of holding business meetings to make the most of their trip. Occupying 5,500 square metres, this hotel will house approximately 100 rooms and a roof-top bar.
As the airport campus continues to evolve, the number of visitors and people working in the area is expected to increase. In light of this, Malta International Airport will also be ploughing €20 million into the construction of a multi-storey car park, which will furnish the airport complex of around 1,300 parking spaces.