An interview with Alan Borg, CEO Malta International Airport. By Nick Preston
Malta International Airport has been busy developing its terminal facilities to deliver a 5-star customer experience. According to Alan Borg, CEO Malta International Airport, 2017 was the airport’s fastest-growing year, as well as the eighth record year of uninterrupted growth in passenger numbers. The arrival of Malta’s six-millionth passenger on the last day of the year meant that traffic increased by almost one million passengers in just 12 months.
“The outstanding performance in 2017 was the result of persistent and ongoing efforts made by the team at Malta Airport, together with the main tourism stakeholders, to drop a pin on the island and keep it connected to the rest of the world through a growing airline family operating new routes and better frequencies,” Borg comments. “2018 is forecast to close with around 6.5 million passengers and promises to be another exciting chapter in the airport’s success story.”
This year’s increase is expected to be largely driven by a flight schedule offering more than 100 destinations, including 20 new routes that establish links with countries such as Estonia, restore the island’s connection with Portugal, and strengthen ties with already popular markets such as Italy and Spain.
2018 is also an important year in that it will mark the completion of the airport’s Terminal Reconfiguration Project. “Through this €12 million investment in the heart of Malta’s terminal facilities, the airport will be better poised to deliver the excellent service it promises to every one of its guests,” says Borg. “This project is a testament to the company’s commitment to continually invest in an airport that can continue to serve the island, while flying high among its European peers in the long-term.”
Some of the main improvements made to the terminal so far include the new La Valette lounge, which has already won a Priority Pass commendation since its unveiling in 2017, a central security area that now occupies double the original footprint, providing a brighter, more efficient passenger processing environment, eight additional check-in desks, and a new baggage handling system. Besides providing more baggage handling capacity, this system can be extended in the event of future terminal expansion. Thanks to the company’s recently-approved master plan, such expansion is on the cards in the not-too-distant future.
Malta’s master plan provides for the future development of the terminal to equip the airport to handle further growth together with the construction of more office buildings and landside facilities over the long-term. In the next five years alone, the company plans to channel at least €100 million into terminal improvements, a multi-storey car park, and the SkyParks Business Centre II development.
Borg explained that, in addition to office space, SkyParks II will introduce a business hotel in close proximity to the airport. He added that the primary aim of this development is to reinforce the airport’s non-aviation segment, which has become an important contributor to the company’s revenues and its long-term sustainability.
Investment is an important pillar of Malta Airport’s corporate strategy. “Serious investment in our infrastructure and our team of hard-working individuals enables us to step-up the game with regard to the quality of our guests’ airport experience,” says Borg.
In 2017 Malta overcame the challenges presented by construction works in every corner of the terminal, to secure a prestigious second place from among its peers in ACI’s Airport Service Quality awards for 2017. Borg describes this accolade as “a clear vote of confidence from the airport’s guests, which heartens all the team to keep pursuing excellence, while aiming at being the best airport in Europe.”