Last Updated on Sunday, 24 May, 2020 at 8:54 am by Andre Camilleri
The travel ban to and from Malta has been extended to 16 June, a notice to airmen (NOTAM) published on Saturday morning said.
The NOTAM, which was created at 09:16 on Saturday, reads that “The Superintendent of Public Health hereby extends the order of a travel ban on persons to Malta and from Malta to all countries, provided that cargo flights, ferry flights, humanitarian flights, and repatriation flights shall be exempt from this order.”
“The Superintendent of Public Health may, in her absolute discretion, issue and exemption from the provisions of this order, by notice in the Gazette, or by other means, where, in the opinion of the said Superintendent of Public Health, the travel of certain persons or goods is deemed to be essential”, the notice continues.
Operators must, according to the notice, obtain prior approval from the Malta Civil Aviation Directorate before any operations.
The ban will remain in place until 15 June at 23:59, according to the notice.
Malta’s airport has been closed since 21 March – now over two months – as a mitigation measures to stop the importation of new cases of Covid-19 to the islands.
However, as measures start to be relaxed, the airport has been at the centre of diverging appeals: the Medical Association of Malta and the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses have both appealed to keep the airport shut, while the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association has called for it to be reopened, setting a target of 15 June for this to happen.
The calls come as the Maltese government, along with other European counterparts, considers what are being called ‘safe corridors’ which would see travel be re-opened to countries which are deemed to be safe and have handled the Covid-19 pandemic well.
In fact, Malta is amongst the first group of countries which Cyprus will re-open to when it lifts its flight ban on 9 June. Prospective holidaymakers however will not be able to travel to the Mediterranean island immediately though, with Malta’s ban being extended beyond that date.