Bid to set up terminal for business jets, cut costs

Tourism minister Karmenu Vella has confirmed that the government was working with Malta International Airport to set up a terminal for business jets, saying it wanted more competitive fees and also to ease handling regulations.

The sector is growing fast and already represents a €20 billion indus­try in Europe alone. It is expected that another 10,000 new jets will be added to the worldwide fleet in next 10 years.
Mr Vella said that the Civil Aviation Department needed more resources if it were to be ready to handle future opportunities, with the first change to be one from a directorate to an authority.
He admitted that Malta did not currently have the manpower required to support a wider aviation industry, but that this could be built up slowly but surely by bringing in foreigners to fill the gaps who would eventually mentor the Maltese as they worked their way up the ranks.
Malta is keen to develop the aviation sector beyond its current scope, mirroring the success of the maritime registration sector. Mr Vella stressed that just as with the Malta maritime flag, Malta’s aviation register would never be a ‘flag’ of convenience.
John Matthews, the chairman of AirX Malta, also took part in the discussion, saying the company bought aircraft from distressed companies and turned them into executive jets. In its first year of operation, it already carried some 3,700 high net worth individuals. The company already employs 14 Maltese apprentices.

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