On 9 February 1992, 140 passengers arrived at Malta International Airport on board a direct flight from Moscow. These passengers were the first to be welcomed at Malta’s new air terminal building, which had been inaugurated the previous day.
This week marks an important milestone in Malta International Airport’s history as, today, the terminal building sees the dawn of its thirtieth year in operation. Over the past three decades, millions of passengers – 75 million since the airport’s privatisation in 2002 – have walked through the terminal’s doors.
The inauguration of the terminal building in 1992 had heralded an exciting era for the local aviation industry and tourism. The building, which was constructed over two years with an investment of around Lm12 million, was designed to cater for future traffic growth, with the aim of eventually handling 2.5 million passengers annually.
The terminal’s continuous evolution, particularly through an investment of more than €30 million in two extensions together with a more recent €12 million reconfiguration, allowed Malta International Airport to welcome almost thrice as many passengers as the number that was being eyed back in the nineties, in 2019 alone. Malta International Airport had ended what was an exceptional year with a record 7.3 million passengers, of which 2.8 million were tourists, before the COVID-19 pandemic slashed this number in 2020.
“Despite the uncertainty that continues to surround our industry, we feel that this anniversary provides us with an opportunity to revisit – together with the public – the people, the moments, the investments and the challenges that turned the past 30 years into a remarkable journey. We also hope to get people excited for what lies ahead for the airport and air travel, as we re-affirm our commitment to recover from the blows of COVID-19 and continue to focus on making our airport one of the best in Europe,”Alan Borg, Malta International Airport CEO
Over the past years, Malta International Airport has grown into a thriving community. The number of people presently working here totals around 7,000, which is roughly comparable to the population of an average Maltese village. While a number of individuals are directly employed by the company that operates the airport, the majority work with companies and entities that provide support services ranging from cleaning and ground handling, to passenger security screening and passport control.
In 2022, the terminal will be getting a completely revamped Food Court boasting an elevated aesthetic and a much wider food offering. The Food Court on Level -1 was originally introduced inside the terminal in 2009, when an extension had brought about major improvements to the facilities and given the airport façade the iconic look it still has today. Another project that is set to transform part of the terminal building over the coming months is the expansion of the Customs Area, with the aim of enhancing the guest experience at this point of the airport journey.
Two other projects that are in the pipeline and which will allow for further growth, both in terms of passenger traffic and the company’s retail and property portfolio, are the development of Apron X and the construction of SkyParks 2.