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Malta International Airport has been allocated the IATA code of MLA, and its ICAO code is LMML. The airport is found on the island of Malta, and due to its close proximity to Valletta, Luqa and Gudja, it can also be referred to as the Valletta, Luqa or Gudja International Airport. Malta Airport is very important for all towns and cities in the Maltese archipelago, as it is the only airport on the islands. Every year, approximately 3.5 million passengers pass through the terminal building, and they have a choice of a variety of airline companies. Ryanair and Malta Air use the airport as one of their hub locations, and serve the greatest percentage of passengers.
Before World War II there were several small civil airfields on the island of Malta, including one at Luqa, which is now the main airport of Malta. The others were RAF Hal Far and Ta’ Qali, however, during the war they were severely damaged, and their civil operations were moved to the airfield at Luqa. This move greatly increased passengers and aircraft movements at the Luqa Airport, and new facilities were required. Preparations for a new passenger terminal began in 1953, and the building was opened in March of 1958. The airport’s new building featured a couple of facilities, such as a restaurant and a post office, and had two floors.
Over the next years traffic at Luqa Airport continued to increase, and a new and longer runway was required. New jet aircraft had arrived, and the shorter flying times that they enabled encouraged many more people to travel by air. Along with a new runway, the airport building was also expanded, with a new arrivals lounge and another lounge for VIPs only. The original parts of the terminal building were used for departure procedures. Although the airport’s improvements were fairly substantial, the now thirty-five year old terminal was deemed as inadequate, and permission for a completely new construction was given. Along Park 9, the foundation stone of Malta Airport as we know it today was laid in September of 1989, and the entire building was completed in record time just 29 months later. Malta International Airport was fully operational by the end of the third month of 1992, and the old terminal building was closed.
Malta Airport’s new terminal proved to be very efficient, and in recent years the airport has won several noteworthy awards. In 2011, Malta won ‘Best Airport in Europe’ of the Airport Service Quality Awards by Airports Council International, and in the previous year, it was voted as ‘Best Airport’ in its category (1 – 5 million passengers) at the ACI Europe Awards, as ‘Best Airport in all categories’ in a ASQ Survey, and also received the title of ‘Most Noteworthy Airport for a New Small Budget Program’ by Passenger Terminal World. Today it know as one of the top fifteen airports in the world, along with Dubai, Brussels, San Francisco, Barcelona and Vienna.
The airport of Malta is located approximately 5km, or 3.1 miles to the southwest of Valletta, and is to the south-eastern side of the island, however, it is not alongside the coast, but more centrally located. The areas to the south of the airport include Zurrieq and Birzebbuga, while those to the west and northwest include Zebbug, Rabat, Birkirkara, Mosta, Brumarrad and Maghtab. The airport’s main access road is the Triq Ta’ Garnaw, which is linked to roads from Valletta and from areas in the west. Driving to the airport can be considered as quite easy, provided that you have planned a route, as its not quite as simple as jumping on one big highway and driving until the airport’s turnoff. Along the way there are airport signs, or signs to Luqa or Gudja can be followed. Parking is available at the airport for short or long-term stays that is within walking distance of the terminal building.
As alternative options, passengers can take public bus services to or from the airport, or taxis are always available from outside the arrivals area. Taxis have set rates to a variety of destinations on the island, and are quite reasonably priced. A trip to Valletta will cost just 15 Euro. There is no train station at the airport.
Within the airport’s single terminal building there are banking and money services, such as automated currency exchange dispensers and ATMs, meeting and conference facilities, Wi-Fi internet connections and a variety of interesting and tasteful shops and restaurants. Many of the shops and eating facilities are located in the Departures Level 1 area, but a few are also found in the Welcomer’s Hall of the arrival area as well. Additional facilities include a pharmacy, a post office, a chapel, lost and found offices, a parenting room and services for passengers with disabilities. Call points from where PRM services can be requested are found nearby the check-in hall, in the arrivals area, on the departure level and nearby to the car park. Passengers with mobility challenges can be assisted through the entire check-in and boarding procedure, or through the arrivals hall. Accessible restrooms are available as well at convenient locations.
The busiest airline carriers at Malta Airport include Air Malta (with just over 1.6 million per annum), Ryanair (with almost 800,000 passengers per annum), EasyJet (with almost 350,000) and Lufthansa (with 130,000 per year). Emirates, Alitalia, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Jet Time are important as well, carrying passengers to and from Manchester, East Midlands, London, Glasgow, Copenhagen, Billund, Dubai, Larnaca, Rome and Oslo.
Details regarding Malta Airport information can be obtained by contacting the airport at +356 2124 9600 or +356 2169 7800. Flight information is available at +356 5230 2000.