Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Until 1800 Malta depended on cotton, tobacco and its shipyards for exports. After the British arrived, they came to depend on the dockyard for support of the Royal Navy, especially during the Crimean War of 1854. The military base benefited craftsmen and all those who served the military.
In 1869 the opening of the Suez Canal gave Malta's economy a great boost, as there was a massive increase in the shipping which entered the port. Ships stopping at Malta's docks for refuelling helped the Entrepôt trade, which brought additional benefits to the island.
However, towards the end of the 19th century the economy began declining, and by the 1940s Malta's economy was in serious crisis. One factor was the longer range of newer merchant ships that required less frequent refuelling stops.
The dolphin show at Mediterraneo Marine Park. Tourism generates a significant part of the GDP of Malta
Currently, Malta’s major resources are limestone, a favourable geographic location and a productive labour force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles) and tourism. Malta is a popular tourist destination, with 1.2 million tourists every year.Three times more tourists visit than there are residents. Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of good-quality hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern. An increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday. Although they are still a net importer of tourism, the ratio of inbound tourists to outbound tourists is decreasing.
Film production is a growing contributor to the Maltese economy, with several big-budget foreign films shooting in Malta each year. The country has increased the exports of many other types of services such as banking and finance.
Malta is part of a monetary union, the Eurozone (dark blue).
The government is investing heavily in education, including college.
Malta has recently privatised some state-controlled firms and liberalised markets in order to prepare for membership in the European Union, which it joined on 1 May 2004. For example, the government announced on 8 January 2007 that it is selling its 40% stake in Maltapost, in order to complete a privatisation process which has been ongoing for the past five years.
Malta and Tunisia are currently discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for petroleum exploration.
Malta does not have a property tax.
According to Eurostat data, Maltese PPS GDP per capita stood at 76 per cent of the EU average in 2008.
The two largest banks in the country are Bank of Valletta and HSBC Bank Malta, both of which can trace their origins back to the 19th Century, making them the earliest established banks in the country. Malta is also home to an international financial centre with several foreign offshore banks.
The Central Bank of Malta (Bank Ċentrali ta' Malta), has two key areas of responsibility: the formulation and implementation of monetary policy and the promotion of a sound and efficient financial system. It was established by the Central Bank of Malta Act on 17 April 1968. The Maltese government entered ERM II on 4 May 2005, and adopted the euro as the country's currency on 1 January 2008.
Air Malta plc is the national airline of Malta, headquartered in Luqa. It operates services to 36 destinations in Europe and North Africa. The airline's hub and base is at Malta International Airport.
Shortly after the Second World War, several small private airlines were formed in Malta. Amongst these were The Malta Instone Airline, BAS (Malta) Ltd, and Malta Airlines. In 1947 the former two companies merged to form Air Malta Ltd in fierce competition with the latter. Eventually in 1951 Malta Airlines absorbed the operations of Air Malta Ltd and continued operating through an agreement with BEA until 1973. The owners of Air Malta Ltd used their real estate, staff and equipment to set up a ground handling company called MAS, Malta Aviation Services.
In the early 1970s the Maltese government made a call for an international airline partner to help set up an airline. Pakistan's PIA was selected and a new carrier set up. The name chosen for the new airline was similar to that of its forerunner, Air Malta Co Ltd, and was established on 31 March 1973. BEA was chartered to continue its Malta operations, this time for Air Malta, until Air Malta's first flight on 1 April 1974. Both Malta Airlines and Malta Aviation Services were taken over by the government and the private owners were given a shareholding in Air Malta Co. Ltd.
Air Malta started operations, with two wet leased Boeing 720Bs that served Rome, Tripoli, London, Manchester, Frankfurt and Paris from Malta's airport. It later bought three more Boeing 720Bs and bought the original two.
In 1981, three Boeing 737-200s were wet leased, which were so successful that in 1983, three new fully owned Boeing 737-200s were delivered. In 1986, Air Malta bought three new Boeing 737-200s, and in 1987 ordered its first Airbus A320. In 1989, Air Malta exercised an option for one more A320, and in 1992, three more Boeing 737-300s were ordered. That year, four Avro RJ70s were ordered for routes to Catania and Palermo and to new destinations such as Tunis and Monastir.
After the opening of Malta International Airport in 1992, Air Malta created CargoSystems, which includes the air transportation of cargo on Air Malta planes. In 1994, Air Malta inaugurated a cargo center at the airport. It was also during this time that a codesharing agreement with Trans World Airlines began.
Between 2002 and 2007, Air Malta embarked upon a fleet replacement programme, opting to change all aircraft to Airbus A319s and A320s, thus reducing the average age of the fleet to around 2.5 years. The last aircraft in this order, A320 9H-AEQ, was delivered on 22 March 2007.
Air Malta has around 190 interline ticketing agreements with other IATA airlines. It has a codeshare agreement with Qantas covering the following routes: Sydney-Singapore-Heathrow-Malta, Sydney-Bangkok-Heathrow-Malta and Melbourne-Singapore-Heathrow-Malta.
According to the Association of European Airlines quarterly review of May 2006 Air Malta is the airline that loses the least amount of passenger baggage. The amount of baggage lost in the first quarter of 2006 was 4.1 bags missing per 1000 passengers.
In winter the airline often leases out aircraft to maximise earnings during the low season. In September 2007, for instance, Air Malta made two agreements with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways by which Air Malta wet-leased two Airbus aircraft to Etihad Airways for the winter period starting September 1, 2007, and provided operational support on another Airbus A320 aircraft leased by Etihad Airways. In January and February 2009 Air Malta wet-leased A320 9H-AEF to Sky Airline of Chile.
In summer the airlines start new flight to Kyiv (Boryspil International Airport) by friday on Airbus A319.
Air Malta is owned by the Maltese government (98%) and private investors (2%). Air Malta also has a 25% shareholding in Medavia. The airline employs 1,380 staff.
Malta International Airport 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, joining 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. MIA's core air terminal operations include general passenger services, and the operation of an extensive range of retail services at the airport, airside and landside shops, restaurants and other outlets, which are all operated on concession agreements. MIA also leases office space to airlines and other travel related operators at the airport. Malta International Airport is a member of the ACI-EUROPE (Airport Council International - Europe) and a number of company officials sit on specialised committees and working groups within this council.
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 to VIPs were added and the original part of the terminal building was used for departures.
Shopping and eating
You can find several shops at the airport, including news kiosk, florist and tax-free outlets. A good selection of renowned brands is available at the outlets. The shopping experience is completed with varied choice of Food and Beverage outlets. A number of them are accessible to public (arrivals and check-in hall area).
Automated money exchange dispensers and ATM are available on the passengers Area, Arrivals. Also a 24 hour service of exchange bureau can be find on arrivals area. In addition, there is a post office and a telecommunications centre, located in the terminal. Wireless Internet access is available throughout the airport. A left luggage service is available 24-hours a day, as is a luggage secure-wrapping service.
Malta International Airport plc have introduced an enhanced service for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility (PRMs) which will ensure a seamless passage through the airport terminal to the aircraft and similarly on return. The airport provides also some facilities. The terminal has wheelchair-accessible toilets, ramps and low-level payphones. Reserved parking spaces are available in the car park. Wheelchairs are available on request from the Customer Services Centre.
Through La Valette Club, VIP members have an access to lounges: La Valette Lounge (departures and arrivals). Internet access is available to lounge users with a free Wi-Fi throughout the area.
Fully-equipped business and conference rooms are available on request.
Skyparks Business Center
Created by an innovative team of leading design and architecture professionals, SkyParks has developed into a state-of-the-art corporate headquarters location that has been crafted to exceed the expectations of discerning tenants. SkyParks Business Centre is the corporate address. Located within the grounds of Malta International Airport, Skyparks is situated in one of Malta’s most commercially-oriented districts. With a foodprint of 3,100 square meters over 9 floors, the business centre is constructed in an Energy Efficiency Ethic way. It is the first building in Malta to have applied for BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification to become the island's first Grade A office park.
- The complex will house various facilities, including food and beverage outlets, a bank, a stationary shop and convenience store. Moreover, it will provide a fitness and wellness centre, a childcare centre and a large car park with over 160 spaces
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The children of Brussels eurocrats will head to the Italian Alps next week for a subsidised ski holiday, thanks to the European Parliament’s ultimate slush fund – a e234,000 annual budget to pay for staff jollies.
The discovery of taxpayer-assisted holidays for the children of up to 80 EU civil servants has led to an outcry among MEPs – themselves no strangers to accusations of largesse, thanks to their generous expenses, salaries, pensions and allowances.
Details of the holidays, which include one ski trip and four summer camps every year, are hard to find because they are listed in the annual European Parliament accounts under the innocuous-sounding entry “Social services – social interventions”.
The details came to light after questions from MEPs, who are demanding a better audit of how the European Parliament’s e1.5 billion annual budget is spent.
The ski trip last year, for example, was subsidised to the tune of e53,000, with staff who earn e78,000 a year entitled to half the approximate e900 cost of the trip from the fund.
A total of 97 children were sent on four subsidised summer camps in 2008, the last year for which the European Parliament would give details. They were held in France, Malta, Germany and the UK.
Daniël van der Stoep, a Dutch MEP who has called on the European Commission to analyse the use of these funds, said: “I am a new MEP here and I am amazed every day by some new way they have of spending money.”
The European Parliament said that it had placed under review the amount of money used by the Staff Committee for children’s holidays, with a view to spending the money on the children of the lowest-paid personnel.