The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Mayors want to wait for more details before commenting on vision for MIA capacity increase

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 11 April 2019, 10:33 Last update: about 4 months ago

Mayors of the localities surrounding the airport generally said that it is too early for them to comment about Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi’s statement earlier this week, arguing that the aim is for the airport’s capacity to reach that of London Gatwick.

Earlier this week, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi referred to plans for Malta International Airport’s new terminal building and also plans for making space for seven new parking spaces for aircraft.  He said that a master plan for the Malta International Airport and the area surrounding it aims to see the capacity of the Malta International Airport increase to match that of London’s Gatwick Airport.

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The statement regarding MIA’s capacity reaching that of London Gatwick raised a number of eyebrows locally, with people commenting on the articles and more so on social media, concerned about the noise, and the already existing traffic issues when travelling to and from the airport.

This newsroom contacted a number of mayors from the surrounding localities to get their opinion about the statement, the master plan, and whether they have concerns regarding noise levels.

Luqa mayor John Schembri said that he does not have the technical expertise in this field and cannot talk about things he does not know details about (regarding the master plan). He said that he has not been consulted yet. He said however, that he has no doubt the minister has technical people, and that the minister will take a decision which the minister would be responsible for. He said that the safety of the residents in the area must be taken into consideration and be a priority. As for the noise, he said that noise will always remain, saying that he takes no pleasure from the noise complaints he receives. “But for us who were born here, the noise does not affect us as we grew up in that environment, but it affects people who move here. The most important thing is that the residents will have their minds at ease that there will not be any danger.”

Kirkop mayor Terence Agius said that the council has not yet been consulted, and once something factual is in their hands, they can see the good and bad of the project. Asked about the noise levels, he said that the interest of residents will be first and foremost.

He said that he has no doubt that local councils will be involved to see what the project is. “There is a currently approved masterplan, and if we keep going on similar projects, we need to see how and where it will grow. As in, if it grows towards Hal Far, Kirkop will not be that affected, but if it grows towards our direction... nobody likes noise.”

Safi mayor Johan Mula said that it is too soon to comment about the situation and he would need more facts and details in hand before doing so. He also said that the local council has not yet discussed the issue.

Mqabba mayor Charlene Zammit said that the council has not yet discussed this, and it is a subject which the council will discuss. “It was a comment by the minister and we have not been consulted on this yet, so I am seeing it a bit premature as an issue.” She said that one would await for more details before commenting. “It seems it was a comment in which he gave his vision but we have nothing factual in hand.”

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