The two Libyan Mirage F.1 fighter jets ('502' and '508') which were flown to Malta by defecting pilots a year ago, roared back into the air just after noon today and and headed back home. The planes arrived in Malta unexpectedly a year ago yesterday, when their pilots Col. A. al-Rabti and Col. A. al-Salheen, defected to Malta after refusing to bomb fellow Libyans in Benghazi. The two pilots were given protection in Malta for the duration of the Libyan uprising. The two pilots were back at the controls this morning. They acknowledged Malta's assistance with a low-level flypast before finally heading south. The planes were due to fly back yesterday, on the anniversary of the defection, but they were grounded by bad weather over Malta and Libya. (Source: timesofmalta.com)
An Brazilian TAM Airlines A340-500 plane (PT-MSN) was damaged in an unusual collision involving an Air Malta aircraft tow-truck at Malta IAP this morning. The tow truck ended up wedged beneath the central section of the fuselage. The airport fire section was on the scene as a precaution. The aircraft is currently stored at Malta IAP.
Passenger movements at Malta Int'l Airport for the first month of the year reached 165,969; which is a decrease of 2.2% when compared to Jan-11, whilst aircraft movements for the month decreased by 10% over the corresponding period last year. Likewise, the seat capacity for the month reached 254,714, i.e. a decrease of 9.8% over January 2011. The maximum take-off weight was 5.4% lower than the corresponding period, whilst cargo and mail was 6.5% lower than that recorded during the same month in 2011. The Italian and French markets retracted in January, by 16.2% and 13.4% respectively, whereas the German market grew by a considerable 25.6%. The United Arab Emirates market grew by 19.6%, whereas the United Kingdom market had a more modest increase of 2.2%. (Source: maltairport.com)
An Air Malta A320 (9H-AEO), operating scheduled flight AMC328 from Malta to Frankfurt, had to return to Malta this afternoon as a precautionary measure due to a damaged cockpit window. The flight was uneventful and the aircraft landed normally. Following an aircraft change, flights KM 328/9 will be operated by another aircraft in order to minimise disruption and get passengers to their final destination. (Source: Air Malta)