Last Updated on Monday, 20 December, 2021 at 9:58 am by Andre Camilleri
Very few people know that Malta Air Traffic Services (MATS) is the entity that is responsible for the provision of air traffic control services, not just over the Maltese territory, but is also responsible for the airspace, extending to Libya, Tunisia to Greece and bordering with Italy.
“And even fewer people know that without MATS’ operations, no flights would really be possible. In fact, MATS is the sole air navigation service provider for the Maltese Islands and this is why at GO, we are very proud to have been supporting them for decades with our telecommunications services,” says Jonathan Brincat, senior manager, Enterprise Services at GO.
GO has been assisting MATS as its operations evolved throughout the years, supporting them in all technological aspects, from consultancy to implementation and support for ground-to-ground communication.
MATS knows its origins from 1947, when following the war and with the assistance of the British Forces, Malta got its own FIR – defined airspace within which flight information and alerting services are provided. By 1954, Maltese controllers had replaced all expatriates and by 1978 Malta had all the staff it needed to run its own air traffic control. Until MATS was established as a limited liability company in 2002, air traffic control services were part of the Directorate of Civil Aviation and even Malta International Airport.
“We are accountable to the Maltese public, users of our airspace and all our stakeholders and yet, so many people are not familiar with us and the work we do. Our work however is essential to the country and therefore, having a resilient technology partner like GO is very critical,” says Dr Kenneth Chircop, CEO of MATS.
GO supplies MATS with all the international links with different countries; links that connect with the infrastructure needed in the respective countries – from Malta to Italy to Greece and connecting even Crete through partner networks.
“We have links to telecoms providers in other countries, where we provide MATS with connections to locations where they may have equipment needed to operate. At GO we also host an array of equipment to secure visibility of radars. For example, for MATS to view the Eastern side of the Mediterranean, they utilise our connection to view the radars located in Greece,” explains Brincat.
“We have installed mobile repeaters to improve coverages and to be used as backup to fixed voice. Broadband services are also provided, to access specific data such as weather information. Our infrastructure is also built in a way that ensures that if there is a fibre cut, MATS can use alternative routes, thus ensuring no loss of service and operations. We are happy to note that we provide 100% uptime to voice, data and pretty much everything else,” added Brincat.
“Although we have a maintenance agreement through which GO can support us whenever the need arises, our people today are also adequately trained and able to handle issues whenever these arise, from basic troubleshooting to emergency situations,” concluded Dr Chircop.