In a bid to give a boost to civil aviation, Transport Malta has announced that it is planning to increase the number of registered planes from 315 to 400 in 2019. The plan to expand Malta’s aviation register was announced by Transport Minister Ian Borg at a press conference on Thursday.
The minister highlighted that the civil aviation sector in Malta employes around 3,200 people and contributes 2.5 per cent to the GDP. He stated that the country should work towards expanding its civil aviation sector to help the economy.
“We are the first in Europe and the sixth globally in terms of our maritime registry, and what we have done in this sector we can also do for aviation. We should give more visibility to the aviation sphere, and Transport Malta plays a crucial role in this,” Bord was quoted as saying by Malta Today.
Borg accepted that the target is ambitious but said that the country has 35 certified airline operators and the aim is to take this number to 40 by providing Air Operators Certificate (AOC) to more players.
The 35th AOC license was granted to SmartLynx Airlines at the press conference. Sigurdur Hrafn Gislason, president of the airline also addressed the press and said that Malta was their top choice after the company researched for countries to base their operations in.
He added that the industry plays a crucial role in generating jobs and offered lucrative career options for the Maltese people. However, he said that a shortage of local trained professional poses a challenge for the industry.
Talking about the operators choosing to base themselves, he said: “Transport Malta is the first port of call for such operators, but several other authorities also go out of their way to help make the process as seamless as possible for these companies.”