MATS launches 'Free Route Airspace'

The ‘free route airspace’ falls under the Single European Sky initiative

MATS launches Free Route Airspace
MATS launches Free Route Airspace

Malta Air Traffic Services (MATS) has launched Free Route Airspace (FRA) - a project that falls under the 'Single European Sky' initiative - that will allow aircraft flying at an altitude greater than 33,500 feet to use Maltese airspace.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said that this initiative will result in an increased efficiency of air traffic as well as increased safety.

He said that the project would positively impact the environment since aircraft flying at a higher altitudes burn less fuel.

"The real challenge is in obtaining improved operational and security standards in a harmonized way that is also efficient and environmentally friendly," Zammit Lewis said.

The minister thanked ENAV – the Italian air traffic agency – for collaborating with MATS on a project which he said will ultimately contribute to Malta's growing aviation industry.

By collaborating with ENAV, the initiative will allow for more efficient and direct routes passing though both Maltese and Italian airspace.

Zammit Lewis praised the work being done by MATS and said that in just four years, the company's worth had increased from €2 million to €33 million.

The minister said that MATS does not receive any government funding but rather, has paid the government some €500,000 in dividends, a clear sign of competence in the way the company is run.

He added that MATS is in no way a passive entity and is constantly competing with other entities for work and investment, something it is doing with great success, he said.

MATS chairman Tony Abela took the opportunity to encourage more people to join the aviation sector.

This was echoed by Zammit Lewis, who spoke of the importance of increasing human resources and getting more students to seriously consider aviation as a gratifying career, adding that the industry goes beyond the Malta International Airport and Air Malta.

"Investment goes to jurisdictions that dedicate the resources to constant improvement," he said.

The minister argued that the government was committed to growing the industry further, adding Malta had become very attractive for investors, as evidenced by a number of companies, such as VistaJet, which have moved their operations to Malta.

Malta's airspace has been under the control of the Maltese since 1979, and the industry hasn't looked back since, achieving a number of important goals.

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