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Luqa Airport

Malta International Airport
Luqa Airport
Valletta Airport
Airport type Public
Owner Malta International Airport plc
Serves Malta
Location Luqa
Hub for Air Malta
Elevation AMSL 300 ft / 91 m
Coordinates 35°51′27″N 014°28′39″E / 35.8575°N 14.4775°E / 35.8575; 14.4775 (Malta International Airport)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,377 7,799 Asphalt
13/31 3,544 11,627 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Passengers 2,918,664
Aircraft movements 26,304
Cargo (kg) 17,503,781
Source: Maltese AIP at EUROCONTROL
Statistics from Malta Airport

Malta International Airport (IATA: MLA, ICAO: LMML) is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole Maltese Archipelago. It is located between Luqa and Gudja. It occupies the location of the former RAF Luqa and was completely re-furbished, becoming fully operational on 25 March 1992. It is still referred to by locals as Luqa Airport, and sometimes as Valletta Airport internationally, as it is located 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of the Maltese capital Valletta.

The airport serves as the main hub for Air Malta, though many other airlines also fly to the airport, including many holiday airlines. The airport is operated by Malta International Airport plc, a public limited company. It also hosts the Area Control Centre. The airport hosts the annual Malta Airshow, visited by military and civil aircraft from various European and other countries.

Malta International Airport has been awarded the title of Most Noteworthy Airport for a New Small Budget Programme by Passenger Terminal World, the international review of airport design, technology, security, operations and management. The airport is classified among the top 15 airports worldwide joined those of Dubai, Brussels, San Francisco, Stockholm, Heathrow, Changi, Barcelona and Vienna, which were also awarded.

The Passenger Terminal World Annual 2010 said “When a new terminal can cost US$1.5 billion it is hard to think that many wonderful airports are being developed for a fraction of that sum, but Malta Airport is one such. With its current development programme it is a small airport with big plans – improving the commercial offer, enlarging security and other essential services, and gaining plaudits from the country’s population.”

On the 4 March 2010, Ryanair announced the reaching of a 5-year agreement to make Malta International Airport its 41st base. One aircraft was based as from the 17th May 2010.


The old passenger terminal at Luqa Airport was converted into an air cargo terminal when the completely re-furbished Malta International Airport became fully operational in March 1992.
The old passenger terminal at Luqa Airport was converted into an air cargo terminal when the completely re-furbished Malta International Airport became fully operational in March 1992.

The first civil airfield was constructed at Ta' Qali, followed by others at Hal Far and Luqa. During the Second World War, the airfields at Ta' Qali and Hal Far were severely battered and civil operations subsequently centred on Luqa airport.

The increase in passenger handling and aircraft movements necessitated the construction of a civil air terminal. Preparations started in 1956 and the British Government mainly financed what was then a Lm 300,000 (approx €700,000) project. Malta's new passenger air terminal at Luqa was inaugurated on 31 March 1958 by the then Governor of Malta Sir Robert Laycock. The air terminal consisted of two floors including some basic facilities such as a restaurant, a Post office, a Cable and Wireless office and a Viewing Balcony for the public.

Air traffic constantly increased and new airlines with larger aircraft started operations. The introduction of jet aircraft decreased flying times and consequently attracted more people to travel by air.

In October 1977, a new and longer runway was launched and works commenced on the extension and refurbishment of the air terminal. An arrivals lounge and another lounge dedicated for the VIP's were added and the original part of the terminal building was used for departures.

This refurbishment was not enough as it still lacked certain essential facilities. Immediately after the change in Government in 1987, the new administration decided that the 35-year old terminal was past its time and therefore gave the green light for the construction of a new air terminal along Park 9.

Until the construction of the new air terminal was completed, the Government embarked on a further upgrade of the old air terminal. The facilities introduced included air conditioning, new baggage carousels, flight information monitors, computerised check-in desks, a new floor surface and new retail outlets including a larger duty free area.

The foundation stone of the present air terminal was laid in September 1989 and inaugurated in record time 29 months later in February 1992. Malta International Airport became fully operational on March 25, 1992, and the old Luqa airport was effectively closed down after 35 years.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
Air Malta Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin-Tegel, Birmingham, Brussels, Catania, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Istanbul-Atatürk, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Manchester, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Reggio Calabria, Rome-Fiumicino, Sofia, Stuttgart, Tripoli, Vienna, Zürich
Seasonal: Bologna, Bournemouth, Bratislava, Bristol, Budapest, Cardiff, Corfu, Damascus, Dubrovnik, Exeter, Genoa, Girona, Innsbruck, Leipzig/Halle, Ljubljana, Lourdes, Lyon, Marseille, Moscow-Domodedovo, Naples, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Palermo, Prague, Saint Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Toulouse, Tunis, Turin, Verona
Alitalia Rome-Fiumicino
Bmibaby East Midlands [seasonal]
EasyJet Belfast-International [begins 15 February], Liverpool, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Milan-Malpensa, Newcastle upon Tyne, Rome-Fiumicino
EgyptAir Express Cairo
Emirates Dubai, Larnaca
Europe Airpost Paris-Charles de Gaulle [seasonal]
Finnair Helsinki
Iberia operated by Air Nostrum Madrid [seasonal]
Jat Airways Belgrade, Tripoli
Jettime Billund, Copenhagen
Libyan Airlines Tripoli
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Luxair Luxembourg [seasonal]
Norwegian Air Shuttle Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen
Ryanair Bari, Billund [seasonal], Birmingham [begins 15 December], Bologna, Bournemouth [ends 30 October], Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Eindhoven [begins 31 October], Girona, Krakow [seasonal], Leeds/Bradford, London-Luton, Madrid, Marseille, Pisa, Seville, Stockholm-Skavsta, Trapani, Valencia, Venice-Treviso
Scandinavian Airlines Stockholm-Arlanda [seasonal]
Sevenair Monastir, Tunis
SmartWings Prague [seasonal]
Spanair Barcelona
Thomas Cook Airlines East Midlands [seasonal], Glasgow-International [seasonal], London-Gatwick [seasonal], Manchester
Thomson Airways Birmingham [seasonal], London-Gatwick, Manchester Amsterdam [seasonal]
Travel Service Budapest [seasonal]
Viking Airlines Manston [seasonal]
Vueling Airlines Barcelona, Madrid [All Seasonal]


Busiest International Routes out of Malta International Airport (2009)
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change (vs 2008)
1 London Gatwick Airport 308,137 10.1
2 London Heathrow Airport 200,202 1.8
3 Manchester Airport 190,659 7.6
4 Frankfurt Airport 187,219 0.7
5 Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport 167,703 11.1
6 London Luton Airport 105,700 7.5
7 Munich Airport 98,412 0.5
8 Catania Fontanarossa Airport 81,955 8.5
9 Paris-Orly Airport 73,217 12.5
10 Amsterdam Airport 72,243 5.67
Top 10 Passenger Airlines out of Malta International Airport (2009)
Rank Airline Aircraft Movements  % Change (vs 2008)
1 Air Malta 15,978 0.4
2 Ryanair 3,106 12.1
3 Easyjet 1,296 17.9
4 Lufthansa 756 1.1
5 Emirates 734 26.4
6 Alitalia 730 32
7 British Airways 430 71.6
8 Thomas Cook 328 3.6
9 Libyan Arab Airlines 311 19.6
10 Vueling 296 48


Malta International Airport is well-served by public transport. Bus number 8 leaves Valletta, passing through Floriana, Marsa, Paola, Tarxien, Ghaxaq and Gudja before stopping in front of the air terminal, and vice-versa from the airport to Valletta. Services run as frequently as every twenty minutes.

There is also an airport to hotel shuttle service that can be pre booked online.

Taxis are available 24 hours a day from the airport to any destination in Malta. Fixed rates are applicable and pre-paid tickets can be purchased from the ticket booth inside the Welcomers' Hall on Arrivals.

Incidents and accidents

  • On 5 January 1960, Vickers Viscount G-AMNY of British European Airways was damaged beyond economic repair at Luqa when it departed the runway after landing following a loss of hydraulic pressure.
  • On 25 November 1973, Luqa Airport witnessed the landing of the "Mississippi", a KLM Boeing 747 hijacked by three young Arabs over Iraqi airspace on a scheduled Amsterdam-Tokyo flight with 247 passengers on board, after the hijackers threatened to blow up the plane when no country would grant landing permission. Most of the passengers and the eight stewardesses were released after negotiations with the Maltese PM Dom Mintoff who argued with the hijackers that the plane could not possibly take off with both the passengers and the 27,000 gallons of fuel they had demanded given the (then) short runway. With 11 passengers on board the jumbo jet left Malta to Dubai where the incident ended without fatalities. The hijack was claimed by the Arab Nationalist Youth Organization.
  • On 23 November 1985, Luqa Airport was the scene of one of the deadliest aircraft hijackings in aviation history. EgyptAir Flight 648 was forced to land in Malta en–route to Libya. Unit 777 of the Egyptian antiterrorist forces was dispatched to deal with the incident. Storming of the Boeing 737, reluctantly authorised by Maltese officials after five hostages were shot, resulted in the death of over 60 passengers plus several security personnel, aircrew and hijackers.
  • Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted for the Lockerbie bombing on the theory that he loaded a bomb onto Air Malta Flight KM180 Malta-Frankfurt at Luqa Airport which it is alleged found its way via the interline baggage system onto Pan Am Feeder Flight 103A Frankfurt-London Heathrow and eventually onto Pan Am Flight 103 London Heathrow-New York.
  • MLA was the origin airport of the Air Malta Flight 830 Malta-Istanbul hijack which ended in Cologne.


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General Info
Country Malta
Time UTC+1(+2DT)
Latitude 35.857497
35° 51' 26.99" N
Longitude 14.477500
014° 28' 39.00" E
Elevation 300 feet
91 meters
Type Civil
Magnetic Variation 002° E (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Near City Valletta
Operating Hours 24 HOUR OPERATIONS
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry
Daylight Saving Time Last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October

TWR 135.1
APRON 121.825
Clnc delivery and start-up
ATIS 127.4
APP 128.15

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
06/24 7799 x 148 feet
2377 x 45 meters
14/32 11627 x 197 feet
3544 x 60 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
NDB MLT MALTA - 395 3.6 NM 315.0
DME LM MALTA 042X - 1.7 NM 314.8

Fuel Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.
Other Fluids LHOX, Low and high pressure oxygen servicing

LOX, Liquid oxygen servicing

OXRB, Oxygen replacement bottles

OX, Indicates oxygen servicing when type of servicing is unknown

CAUTION Bird haz. Exp windshear on apch, can occur blw 400', especially Rwy 24. Rwy 06-24 creates misleading visual impression of acft posn on 3 final. Rwy 06 appears too lo, Rwy 24 too hi. Acft with wingspan over 100' use ctn on twy.
FUEL (NC-100LL, A1)
JASU 1(A1) 1(A2) 1(A3) 1(C2) 1(C3) 1(C4) 1(E1) 1(E3) 1(E4) 1(E5) 1(E6) 1(E7) 1(E11) 1(E12) 1(F1)
LGT Bdry lgt avbl. Rwy 06-24 PAPI MEHT 67', Rwy 14-32 PAPI GS 2.85 MEHT 58'.
RSTD PPR O/R 24 hr PN. Rwy 32 dep must apply tkof pwr, ONLY aft crossing ldg thld. Twy P clsd at ngt; rstd to acft with 49' or less wingspan only UFN. Trng flt proh 2200-0500Z++. Rwy 06/24 ltd to cat A-D acft.

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