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July’s Becomes MIA’s Busiest Month Since 2019

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:


  • The airport welcomed 848,716 passengers in July
  • The seat load factor stood at 89 per cent, despite an increase in seat capacity
  • Out of the top five markets, France registered the strongest growth over 2019

Malta International Airport welcomed 848,716 passengers in July. This total beat the airport’s previous monthly record, held by August 2019, by more than 25,000 passenger movements.

Aircraft movements during the month remained in line with July 2019 levels, while seat capacity saw an increase of 3.8 per cent as a result of larger aircraft being operated on flights to Malta.

Despite the increase in the number of seats available, the monthly seat load factor (SLF) rose by 2.1 per cent over pre-pandemic levels to reach 89.1 per cent, as demand for travel remained very strong for yet another month.

Being Malta International Airport’s most connected market through flights to 20 airports, Italy showed no signs of ceding the top spot to the United Kingdom, which was the second most popular market for the month.

The French market continued to perform exceptionally well, registering growth of 52 per cent over 2019 and outperforming Germany to rank third. Five airlines currently connect Malta International Airport to 10 French airports, contributing to this market’s increasing popularity.

Passenger traffic from Spain grew by a marginal 1.2 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, with this market retaining the same position it has held since May 2023.

While the terminal was already a hive of activity in July, the August holiday rush is set to bring busier days. Traffic is expected to peak on 17 and 24 August, with each one of these days forecast to see more than 32,000 passengers.

Passengers who will be travelling on either day are reminded to be at the terminal at least two hours before the scheduled time of departure.


30 individuals discovered to be residing in Malta irregularly

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:

In an effort to address the persistent issue of irregular immigration, authorities in Malta have ramped up their inspection efforts, resulting in a recent apprehension of individuals living in Malta without legal authorisation.

Early Friday morning witnessed a continuation of inspections led by the Police, in collaboration with Detention Services officers, in a bid to curb irregular immigration.

The focus of these intensified efforts was centred around the areas of San Pawl il-Baħar and Qawra, where patrols on the streets and comprehensive inspections on buses yielded significant results.

A total of 30 individuals were discovered to be residing irregularly within the country’s borders. Swift action was taken, as these individuals were promptly transported to a detention center, marking the commencement of an immediate return process.

Looking ahead, these operations against irregular immigration are poised to continue in the ensuing days and weeks.


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Grieving Mother Demands Answers as Public Inquiry into Tragic Construction Collapse Begins

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:

The public inquiry into the Corradino building collapse, which claimed the life of 20-year-old Jean Paul Sofia, began with a powerful testimony from his mother, Isabelle Bonnici. Her emotional plea for answers resonated with a nation grappling with the loss of yet another life to a construction tragedy.

Isabelle Bonnici, the first witness to take the stand, bravely shared the devastating journey that culminated in the loss of her son. With tears in her eyes and a heavy heart, she recounted the harrowing 16-hour ordeal that led to the recovery of her son’s lifeless body from the rubble of a factory under construction. Her voice trembling, she described Jean Paul Sofia as a vibrant, healthy young man with a promising future ahead—a future abruptly and unfairly stolen.

“He had a life, a whole future, another victim of construction, another Miriam Pace,” Bonnici declared before the inquiry board, drawing a poignant parallel to another construction tragedy that shook the nation’s conscience. These words echoed the collective sentiment of a society tired of witnessing young lives lost due to preventable construction accidents.

The details of the fateful day were laid bare—Jean Paul Sofia had left home that morning, expressing his love for his mother as he embarked on his daily routine. Little did they know that this routine would lead to his untimely demise. Urged by his boss and developer Matthew Schembri, Jean Paul had visited the construction site to deliver tools. What followed was a catastrophe that would leave a family shattered and a nation grieving.

Isabelle Bonnici’s grief-stricken journey did not end with the collapse; it was compounded by misinformation and false hope. Initially informed by a police officer that her son was safe and receiving medical attention, the truth later emerged—the devastating reality that Jean Paul had not survived the collapse. “He was the centre of my life,” she expressed with a heavy heart, encapsulating the profound loss she and her family have endured.

The commencement of the public inquiry comes after a relentless campaign by Isabelle Bonnici, who garnered widespread support from the public and compelled Prime Minister Robert Abela to relent and initiate the investigation. Bonnici’s determination is fuelled by a deep-seated desire for systemic change. “I want the system to be investigated and spell out any shortcomings and failures…I don’t want other parents to go through what we are going through,” she asserted.

The inquiry promises a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the building collapse and, importantly, a broader assessment of the state’s responsibility in safeguarding the lives of workers on construction sites. Planning Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and Finance Minister Clyde Caruana also testified on the inquiry’s first day, underlining the gravity of the situation.


Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri Cleared of Ethics Breach Allegations

 - Local - Aug 11 2023 SHARE ON:

The Standards Commissioner has officially dismissed allegations of ethical breaches against Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, following a complaint lodged by independent candidate Arnold Cassola back in 2021. The complaint pertained to alleged unauthorised works within a Natura 2000 site, ostensibly benefiting service providers on Comino who were purportedly associated with Camilleri’s campaign efforts.

In his thorough investigation, the Standards Commissioner noted that the Planning Authority had indeed granted permission for the works in question on the island of Gozo. However, the Commissioner expressed curiosity over the necessity of these works on a site that had remained untouched for centuries, highlighting that the jurisdiction on such matters lies with the Authority, not his office. The Commissioner aligned himself with the Office of the Ombudsman’s findings, which revealed that the Comino projects overseen by Camilleri lacked the required approvals.

Camilleri, taking to social media, hailed the Commissioner’s decision not to pursue further investigation after a comprehensive review of the allegations. Labelling the claims as “baseless,” the minister clarified that the works on Comino were greenlit by the Planning Authority and were not intended to cater exclusively to service providers on the island. He further emphasised that the issuance of direct orders, as criticized by the complainant, does not necessarily constitute an abuse of power.

Expressing concern about the misuse of the Commissioner’s office, Camilleri pointed out the importance of substantiating claims before filing complaints. He stressed the need for accountability and fairness in utilizing such processes, stating, “The law should be just with everyone.”

Arnold Cassola, in response to the Commissioner’s decision, acknowledged that the Standards Commissioner had aligned himself with the stance of the Office of the Ombudsman. This alignment prompted the Ombudsman to halt ongoing works, recommend fines, and mandate the restoration of the affected site to its pre-construction state.

The Commissioner, however, found himself in a challenging position due to conflicting views between the Ombudsman and the Planning Authority. This divergence made it difficult for the Commissioner, lacking the requisite technical expertise, to delve further into the situation, according to Cassola.


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