Tourism Minister announces return of sea-planes to Malta

Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis addresses the BOV Aviation Outlook

During the BOV Aviation Outlook conference, the Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis responsible for Civil Aviation stated that the European Aviation Strategy, launched towards the end of 2015, emphasises the need for European States to penetrate emerging markets where the demand for aviation services is not being satisfied properly, both from a quantity and a quality perspective. 

The Strategy encourages States to dare to go beyond their growth limits through innovation in services and products.

The Minister explained that “at a national level we must strive to be proactive from a legal, financial and educational view point, in order to adequately prepare and adapt ourselves to the forthcoming changes and challenges in this dynamic sector.  Our endeavours in this regard are spurred by one over-riding and key objective, that is, to transform Malta into a fully-fledged aviation centre that supports the entire spectrum of aviation-related services”.

 He stressed the point that over the past three years, the aviation registry has experienced growth to the tune of just under 70%, as more than 240 aircrafts were registered under the Malta flag, together with an increasing number of companies that locally are seeking an Air Operator Certificate or other licensing types, which grant them opportunity to provide specialised aviation related services.

Minister Zammit Lewis explained that one should also note that maintenance companies are continuing to expand their client base while investing in a wider range of services, as a result of their confidence in this Administration’s overall economic performance. Significantly, contracts are being awarded to Malta-based facilities on the basis of quality, turnaround time, as well as competitive cost.

 On this occasion the Minister for Tourism was pleased to announce the comeback of seaplanes, flying to our ports, as from December. Indeed, the first recorded flight in Malta was lead by Captain Cecil F Kilner on a Short Type 135 seaplane over the Grand Harbour more than a century ago, to be exact on 13th of February 1915.  “My presence at this event today, as well as the sterling work underway by the Malta Seaplanes Association, clearly demonstrates our commitment to finally re-start seaplane operations in Malta while also actively developing the required range of services around this new niche”.

Moreover, the Minister emphasized that aviation in Malta has experienced substantial growth over these last three years, but this also necessitates an adequately trained and skilled workforce in this sector.

The Minister for Tourism explained the four vision aims of the aviation industry; (1) transform Malta into a more attractive jurisdiction for institutions which are willing to finance operations related to aviation; (2) attract companies, operating in the leasing environment; (3) attract more skills to satisfy the demands of the industry as well as encourage young people and experienced workers to widen their spectrum of knowledge and exposure to new services required by the aviation sector; and (4) improve the infrastructure required by companies to expand or to establish operations in Malta.

As a result the Minister said that the creation of an indigenous aviation sector has only been possible through the coordinated implementation of a long-term strategy requiring the participation of a cross-section of stakeholders, including the public sector, local and foreign investors, technical innovators, academia, and a competent workforce which is constantly learning and adapting.

 During his concluding remarks the Minister for Tourism said it is clear that the local aviation sector is now steadily on the growth path, and is becoming an even more important contributor to our economic success while, assured  everyone that he is committed to implement this vision for more growth within this sector over the next years.

Photo: Minister Edward Zammit Lewis