Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January, 2023 at 2:38 pm by Andre Camilleri
Malta has launched its first national aviation policy, titled A Civil Aviation Policy for Malta 2023-2030.
During a press conference on the future of the aviation sector, which was attended by industry representatives, experts and representatives of the commercial community, Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia launched the government’s policy for the aviation industry, described as one of the economic drivers of the country.
The document was finalized after a public consultation process which was launched in 2021.
Past investments and the vision of the industry for the future were considered, to ensure that challenges are addressed, and that Malta is well-positioned to anticipate and seize upcoming opportunities.
A total of 24 objectives were identified in the policy, which addressed the needs of the industry, continuing to ensure the upkeep of an increasingly efficient and agile aviation sector.
The objectives will lead to the improvement of resources, especially human resources, creating a balance between the socio-economic benefits, and working towards decarbonisation goals while preserving the connectivity and competitiveness of the country.
The policy also aims to develop new and emerging niches including those of drones and electric vertical take-off and landing aircrafts. (EVTOLS)
Government said that the objectives will improve connectivity between Malta and Gozo, as well as other countries and strengthen the Civil Aviation Directorate as a catalyst which offers a regulatory framework of the highest level.
Measures of the policy will be addressing imminent needs, including the necessary infrastructure and strategic plan for Malta to become a training hub for aviation.
The strategic plan for this sector continues to build on its other projects such as the project for the regeneration and extension of the airfield in Gozo and the masterplan for the airport area.
In his speech, Farrugia said that the aviation industry has been particularly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with a post-covid recovery. The impact is however now affected by skyrocketing energy prices.
Farrugia said that government has taken unprecedented steps to support businesses in the aviation industry.
He said that he is working with Economy Minister Silvio Schembri on the masterplan for the airport region by the second quarter of 2023. Farrugia said that he is also working with INDIS Malta for an airport zone strategic plan, and government will also be ensuring that the Gozo airfield becomes an eco-friendly and sustainable air strip.
Farrugia also emphasized the importance of upskilling and reskilling the workforce, whilst seeing more leadership and ownership across government. The policy will focus on five medium and long-term pillars up until 2030.
Farrugia continued that government will continue to provide current and future stakeholders with a high-quality strategy for this sector. He said that the industry contributes over €600 million to Malta’s economy, providing over 5,000 jobs.
Farrugia said that government will be adopting a bi-partisan approach, to work with entities and the Opposition towards the same direction. PN spokesperson for Transport, Mobility, Major Projects and Aviation Adrian Delia also attended the conference.
“We will see to it that environmental and climate change obligations are respected, that we take a leadership role in new economic niches, and that we use the geostrategic position of our country to continue to attract investment, becoming a training hub that fosters the skills necessary for the future,” Farrugia said.
Architect and Former EU Commissioner, as well as the Chairperson of the Aviation Advisory Committee Karmenu Vella, gave a presentation on the overview of the policy, which entails five main strategic pillars, that of capacity building, economic benefits, stakeholder collaboration, legal and regulatory aspects and sustainability.
Vella spoke about green aviation, which has now become a necessity, looking towards sustainable aviation fuel options and better flight efficiency.
Vella said that the entities concerned will finalise the Plan of Action of the policy, which will be published by not later than 31 December 2023. He said that the document will be periodically reviewed and updated, with a progress report due to be submitted to government by 31 December 2024.
MEP Advisor at the European Parliament Pablo Fabregas Martinez addressed the conference via video call on behalf of the European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, saying that one of the common objectives of the policy looks at decarbonisation strategies which do not diminish the industry, or reduce the number of flights.