The Malta Independent 9 April 2020, Thursday

Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis indicates government interest in seaplane sector

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 14 November 2016, 17:55 Last update: about 4 years ago

Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis announced today that a seaplane will be landing in Malta this December.

This flight will be a test of sorts, however during his speech at the BOV Aviation Outlook conference, Minister Zammit Lewis said that government is committed to re-starting seaplane operations in Malta “while also actively developing the required range of services around this new niche”.

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This December flight will be a private sector initiative and ministry officials told this newsroom that further details will be given later. “This flight is a one-time thing to restart activity, like a reconnaissance flight. There is a plan for after this however,” Josephine Farrugia, Tourism Ministry aviation consultant told The Malta Independent. The plane will fly from Lago di Como to Malta.

The minister said that the government, in principle, agrees with the idea of seaplanes landing in Malta, stressing that the first one landed in a Maltese port 100 years ago. “We will facilitate things as we believe that such a sector makes sense from an aviation and tourism aspect”.

Asked whether this would require an area allocated for seaplane landings, the minister said that government would need to see, given Malta’s limited infrastructure, how one would accommodate this industry. “If you are asking me whether I have any plans in my hands or anything of the sort I will say no. This is an idea which we support, but certainly arrangements to find an area where such a sector can operate”.

“This challenge, however, will not stop us if this idea makes sense, and we believe it makes sense, from making the opportune arrangements”.

The minister went on to speak about the aviation sector in general. “We want to transform Malta into an aviation centre that supports a spectrum of aviation services”.

He explained that the aviation registry saw a 70% growth over the years, with many aircraft registered under the Maltese flag”.

The minister also announced that the process related to amendments being made to the aircraft registration act have concluded.  “These will be published and will come into force within the next few weeks”.

The minister is confident that in the medium to long term, the growth of the aviation industry, and training at MCAST and the University of Malta, will create the skills required to sustain a wider spectrum of everyday operations.

He spoke of his vision for the aviation industry, which includes attracting more companies, developing more skills to satisfy the demands of the industry, improving the infrastructure required by the aviation sector and to transform Malta into a more attractive jurisdiction for institutions which are willing to finance operations related to aviation.

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