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The History of Aviation


Malta International

Malta International Airport - Malta

Malta was a British colony at the beginning of its aviation history. Its geographic situation made it excellent for military purposes, and in March of 1917, the first aircraft to reach the Island were Curtiss American flying boats and Short 184 seaplanes. The large harbor at Kalafrana was chosen by the Royal Naval Air Service to base the aircraft. Some years later, after World War I had come to an end, a great deal of progress was made in the field of civil aviation. Aircraft were specifically designed to carry passengers as well as mail. The first recorded commercial flight took place on January 29, 1920. In the 1930s, regular services to Sicily and North Africa began. Civil aviation was interrupted by World War II, but was quickly resumed afterwards. In 1956 continued air traffic necessitated the building of a new civil air terminal. This terminal (Luqa terminal) was completed in 1958. Malta became independent in 1964, around the same time that Malta Airlines and Malta-Gozo Air Services were formed.

In 1989 work began on a brand new international air passenger terminal. Not yet fully operational, the terminal, when completed, will replace Luqa. It covers 200,000 square meters and will be supervised by a government appointed limited liability company (Malta International Airport Limited) which will run it along commercial lines. However, the CIvil Aviation Department continues to manage all movements on aprons and runways, and will continue to regulate all civil aviation matters. Today Malta welcomes almost 900,000 tourists annually. This figure is expected to rise with the opening of the new terminal which has the capacity to handle 2.5 million passengers yearly.

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