Malta International Airport is planning a €40 million terminal expansion, aimed at equipping the airport with more check-in desks, and increasing circulation and seating space.
The airport hopes to have a fixed set of designs for the expansion by the end of this year, MIA CEO Alan Borg announced today.
Borg said that a new apron will also be constructed, and the airport has already been in contact with architectural firms with a view to kick-off the project immediately.
The new aircraft parking area – which will require a multimillion euro investment, the final figures of which are not yet available – will be located on land lying between aprons 8 and 9, and will entail the biggest development of operational areas since the company’s privatisation.
The apron will be able to accommodate seven Code C aircraft (Boeing 738 or Airbus A320) or up to four Code E aircraft (Boeing 777)
Borg added that work on a multi-storey car park, which will create an additional 700 parking spaces, should start in October.
Passenger traffic growth outstrips competitors
Around 6.77 million passengers are expected to pass through the airport’s terminal by the end of the year, marking an increase of 13% over 2017, Borg highlighted.
Passenger traffic for the first half of the year grew by over 16%, more than any of MIA’s competitor airports, with the indications being that 2018 will go down on record as the airport’s eight year of uninterrupted traffic growth.
Borg said that Malta was also leading the way amongst its peers when it came to connectivity increases, registering a growth of 219% in connections over a 10-year span.
All core markets were performing “extremely well”, Borg underscored, with passengers from the UK and Italy increasing by 15 % in the first half of this year compared to the previous period last year. Germany saw a 12% increase, France 17% and Spain a 27% rise.
Brexit remains a challenge
Potential changes to travel to and from the United Kingdom, due to Brexit, remain a challenge for the airport and for the European market in general, Borg noted.
“If there is a hard Brexit, we fear a slowdown in the UK market,” he said.
Political uncertainty in other major EU source markets – such as Italy and Germany – could also potentially could also have a bearing in future passenger flows.
The economic deceleration in Europe, the price of oil and rising costs coupled with increased competition are other area which might be challenging, Borg said.
Malta Tourism Authority executive chairman Gavin Gulia, said that, notwithstanding Brexit, the trends remained positive.
“These last two years have seen growth in the English market, despite Brexit already having been on the cards. We need to look at it positively, but not be bullish,” he said.