Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Belgian AF C130 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

The Belgian AF confirmed with us this week that it will be sending one of the last remaining operational C-130H Hercules.  This will also be the last static display of this popular heavy work horse of military transport.  The Malta Aviation Society is honoured to be hosting the Belgian AF and specifically the crew of the last operational Hercules in the air arm.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 31-Mar-2021)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Private Microlight nose wheel collapses on landing at Malta IAP

Earlier today runway 23 at Malta International Airport was closed for some time after a Fly Synthesis Storch Microlight, registered 9H-UMS had a nose wheel collapse upon landing.  The aircraft stopped on the runway metres away from the threshold.  

(Source: Malta Avaition Outlook; Photo: Carl Camilleri, 27-Mar-2021)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Malta Air's 1st Boeing 737-8200 breaks cover

The first Boeing 737-8200 MAX bound for Ryanair's subsidiary Malta Air has revealed its livery.  9H-VUA was spotted leaving the production line in Renton (WA).  The aircraft form part of the Ryanair Group's firm orders for 210 737-8200 MAX aircraft due to be delivered to the low-cost carrier over the coming years.  Two aircraft have been identified, being line numbers 8003 and 8019.  However, the tie-up and construction numbers are not yet known.

(Source: scramble.nl / Photo: Capt N. D'Amato via Malta Aviation Outlook, 26-Mar-2021)

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Britten-Norman signs contract to deliver a major upgrade programme for AFM

An agreement has just been signed between the Maltese Government and Britten-Norman that will lead to a significant mid-life update for Armed Forces Malta's (AFM) Islander aircraft.  Following on from a previous upgrade that brought new mission sensors to the aircraft and an upgrade from piston engines to the Rolls Royce Model 250 turboprop, the latest changes will now include a major update to the cockpit with enhanced Search & Rescues functionality and a new capability of Performance Based Navigation.

At the centre of the upgrade to the aircraft is the installation of a new Garmin G600TXi glass cockpit, with the GTN750Xi and GTN 650Xi NAV/COMM/GPS.  The Garmin G600TXi provides a cost effective and practical solution to upgrading the Islander and is a modification available through Britten-Norman for both the piston and turboprop variants.  Also to be installed is the latest addition to the Garmin avionics suite, the GI275, an extremely versatile multi-function display that can act as a primary or, as in this installation, as a reversionary secondary display with integral battery.  The GI275 is also available for both piston and turboprop Islanders and can be reconfigured as an HSI or as an electronic engine instrument.

These improvements to the Islander bring the aircraft to the very latest operating standard and will greatly enhance the aircraft's core capabilities.  Coupled with the Genesys System 55X autopilot, the Garmin G600TXi can be configured to provide automatic search patterns for Search & Rescue operations, reducing pilot workload and providing dramatic improvements to mission success rates.

The powerful electronic touchscreen flight instrumentation will replace existing analogue gauges. This will reduce maintenance costs as well as providing greater access to aircraft performance data and operating parameters.

Other elements of the mid-life update will include a full deep maintenance check, upgrade to the interior with an all-new UK designed and manufactured trim kit, seat and upholstery refurbishment and a full refinish of the aircraft exterior.

Capt. C. Grech said "The Armed Forces of Malta have operated Britten-Norman Islanders for over 25 years.  The BN2T Turbine Islander is integral to our coastal search and rescue operations, fisheries protection and other land/maritime security operations.  With the aircraft’s stability, low-speed handling and endurance, the Islander is an essential asset which will continue to assist in maintaining the integrity of the Maltese waters.  In recent times, flight display and engine information systems have advanced significantly.  We are confident that acquiring these sophisticated avionic systems will positively impact our specialist operations and minimise the pilot's visual workload."

W. Hynett, Chief Executive at Britten-Norman stated "We are really pleased to have been selected to carry out this important major mid-life upgrade programme for Armed Forces Malta.  Britten-Norman has had a close relationship with Malta that extends over many years.  We particularly enjoy working with AFM, where we have an ongoing commitment to provide training.  We look forward to welcoming the team for the latest round of training at our newly established facilities at Malta IAP.  In 2021 we will also be establishing our new European Union maintenance facility in Malta, from which we will be launching our new air charter operation."

(Source: britten-norman.com, 25-Mar-2021)

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Tunisian AF OH-58 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

The Tunisian Air Force has informed the Malta airshow team of its intention to participate at the Malta event for the very first time.  An OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter will make its appearance this September.  This will also mark the first time a Kiowa Warrior visits Malta.  The Malta International Airshow Team is highly appreciative of the Tunisian Air Force's participation.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 17-Mar-2021)

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Malta IAP releases traffic results for February 2021

In February, passenger traffic through Malta International Airport dipped to an all-time low since the airport's reopening to commercial flights in July 2020.

Totalling just 27,524 passenger movements, February traffic registered a drop of 93.5% over the same month in 2020.  Amongst the airport's top ten markets, the United Kingdom registered the largest drop in passenger numbers as a ban restricting travel between the two countries remained in place.

Last February marked a year since Malta IAP first reported the early effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, manifested in declining seat load factors  – particularly on Italian routes – as the demand for air travel started to wane towards the end of the month.

With consumer confidence and air travel demand remaining particularly low, seat capacity deployed by airlines in February 2021 was at just 10% of February 2020 levels.  Standing at 52.5%, last month’s seat load factor showed that just over half the seats available on flights to and from Malta were occupied.

(Source: maltaiport.com, 10-Mar-2020

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Malta IAP wins 'Best Airport' award for the third consecutive year

Malta International Airport is among the winners of Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Service Quality Awards for 2020, claiming the title 'Best Airport in Europe' in its size category for the third consecutive year.

ACI on Monday announced the winners of these prestigious industry awards following the rating of 348 airports worldwide by 306,673 passengers throughout 2020 bar the second quarter.  A total of 1,044 departing passengers rated Malta IAP based on 34 key performance indicators related to the service provided and facilities offered.

Malta IAP registered an improvement on most indicators compared to 2019, earning top scores from its guests for ease of way finding (4.50), cleanliness (4.49), staff courtesy (4.45), and safety and security (4.40).  The airport ended the year with an all-time high overall satisfaction score of 4.46, surpassing the European average which stood at 4.28.

An analysis of the feedback received revealed that, while waiting time ranked first among customers' top priorities prior to Covid-19, following the outbreak of the pandemic, cleanliness topped guests’ priority list, clearly indicating a shift in passengers’ expectations of their airport experience.

(Source: maltairport.com, 3-Mar-2021)

Danish AF CL60 for 2021 Malta International Airshow

Denmark, and precisely the Royal Danish Air Force, has informed the Malta International Airshow Team of its intention to join us for this year's event with a CL-604 Challenger.  Denmark now joins Switzerland in the growing list of participating countries at this year's Malta's premier aviation event.

(Source: maltairshow.com, 3-Mar-2021)


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

AFM's new OPV P71 launched by Cantiere Navale Vittoria SY

On 27-Feb-2021, Italian shipbuilder Cantiere Navale Vittoria SpA located near Venice, launched the Armed Forces of Malta's (AFM) new Offshore Patrol vessel (OPV) P71.

The Italian shipyard was selected by the AFM in October 2018 following a call for tenders.  The contract, signed on 16-Jan-2019, is worth 48.5 million euro, with 34 million euro allocated from E.U. funds as part of measures to strengthen the protection of the southern borders of the E.U. against illegal immigration from Africa and the Middle East.

OPV P71 will have a total displacement of 1,800 tons, a length of 74.8m, a width of 13m and a draft of 3.4m.  A two-shaft diesel-electric main power plant with a total power of 10,880kW will give the OPV a top speed in excess of 20 knots.  

The vessel will feature a Rolls-Royce scope of supply that includes a pair of PROMAS controllable pitch propellers and rudders, SC722 FCP steering gear, a TT1300 bow thruster, a TT100 stern thruster, Fin Stabilisers, and a touch-screen remote control system that incorporates the novel CanMan Touch Joystick for all units.

The crew complement consist in 60 sailors with the possibility of accommodating another 20 personnel.  The ship will be armed with a 25mm remote weapon station and a 12.7mm machine gun. 

The helicopter deck can accommodate a AW-139 helicopter.  The ship will be equipped with two 9.1m RHIBs, one of which will be placed on a stern ramp under the helipad.

(Source: navalnews.com, 2-Mar-2021)