In a letter and petition addressed to aviation authorities, student pilots from diverse local flight schools have outlined the challenges impeding their professional training.
Urging immediate attention, they emphasize the critical need for effective communication and collaboration between authorities and the aviation training community to alleviate the pressing issues wreaking havoc on their education.
The issues stem from two instances of restrictions, the first in January, where the Air Traffic Controllers Association ordered the cessation of intersection take-offs and touch-and-go exercises for code A aircraft.
This mandate compelled students to backtrack the entire length of a 3.5-kilometer runway, resulting in significant delays, financial burdens, and environmental concerns due to prolonged engine run times.
The denial of touch-and-go training further obstructed crucial phases of flight education, forcing students to either halt training or incur additional costs by flying to Comiso Airport in Sicily. Now facing a fresh emergency, the closure of the secondary runway 23/05 at Malta International Airport for maintenance has restricted flying to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday, disrupting the students’ schedules.
These limitations, exacerbated by stringent European Aviation Safety Association (EASA) regulations, incur additional expenses and weather-related cancellations during the limited operational days.
Seeking clarification on compensations for extra block time, flight time, handling charges, and landing charges, the student pilots implore relevant authorities, including the Minister for Transport and Education, Malta Air Traffic Services, and Malta International Airport, to consider the profound impact on students and the training industry.
Expressing gratitude for the support of their schools, the students anticipate collaborative efforts towards a resolution preserving the integrity of aviation training and upholding safety standards. A petition has been launched to address these issues, underscoring the urgency of the matter.