Aviation & Ships Spotting in Malta

Anything from Civil & Military Aviation to Naval Vessels


Last updated: March 3, 2017

General Information

Malta IAP, also referred as Luqa Airport, is the only airport in Malta, and it serves the whole Maltese archipelago.  It occupies the location of the formed RAF Luqa and it was completely refurbished becoming fully operational on March 25, 1992.

Click to edit table header
 IATA Code:
 ICAO Code:
 UTC +1 (+2 DST)
 35D 51' 27.15" N
 014D 28' 38.78" E
 300 feet (91.44 mtrs) AMSL
 Magnetic variation:
 2D 27' E (2012
 Type of traffic permitted:
 Operating hours:
 24 hours

- Satellite Image... [VIEW]

- Aviation Weather & Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) for MLA/LMML... [VIEW]


Airport Operator

Malta IAP is operated by Malta International Airport plc (M.I.A.).  M.I.A. was registered as a company on the May 16, 1991 and commenced operations on January 1, 1992.  Initially, M.I.A. managed and operated the air terminal but was later entrusted with the responsibility of the entire airport.

On May 1, 1998, M.I.A. took over the operation and management of the airfield facilities as well as the air traffic control of Malta's Flight Information Region.  The airfield services were previously the responsibility of the Department of Civil Aviation, that has since then retained a purely regulatory role.  Air Traffic Control was again seperated from the M.I.A. central structure in 2001.  It is now an autonomous, government entity known as Malta Air Traffic Services.

In July 2002, the Government of Malta has signed an agreement with the Malta Mediterranean Link Consortium Ltd (MML) for the sale of 40% of M.I.A.  The deal was worth Lm40 million (€93.16 million).  MML is owned by Flughafen Wien AG (57%), SNC-Lavalin Inc. (39%) and Airport Investments Ltd, which is an associate company of the Maltese Bianchi Group of Companies.

The Government of Malta sold a further 20% of its shares in M.I.A. by means of an Initial Public Offering in November 2002 and another 20% in November 2005.

M.I.A.'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.  M.I.A. also leases office space to airlines and other travel related operators at the airport.

Airport Charges... [VIEW]


Airlines Serving Malta IAP

 - Passenger flights


 - Cargo flights



Malta International Airport has two operation runways: 05/23 and 13/31.  The preferential runway for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flights from/to LMML shall be RWY 13 or RWY 31, while the preferential runway for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) from/to LMML shall be RWY 05 or RWY 23.

Click to edit table header
 Strength & Surface of RWY & SWY
 ILS equipped
 2377 x 45 mtrs
 PCN 75 F/D/X/U up to Code D
 3544 x 60 mtrs
 PCN 100 F/B/X/U
Click to edit table header
 Runway (RWY):
 Tue Heading:
 Latitude (THR):
 35D 50' 50.391" N
 35D 51' 35.71" N
 Longitude (THR):
 014D 27' 36.28" E
 014D 28' 53.53" E
 297 feet (90.5 mtrs)
 247 feet (75.3 mtrs)
 Runway Dimensions:
 2,377 mtrs x 45 mtrs  
 2,377 mtrs x 45 mtrs
 Lightning Systems:
Click to edit table header
 Runway (RWY):
 True Heading: 
 Latitude (THR):
 35D 51' 23.13" N
 35D 50' 06.50" N
 Longitude (THR): 
 014D 28'43.76" E
 014D 30' 18.71" E
 Elevation (THR):
 256 feet (78 mtrs)
 230 feet (70.1 mtrs)
 Runway Dimensions:
 3,544 mtrs x 60 mtrs
 3,355 mtrs x 60 mtrs
 Lighting System:
 LLZ - ILS (CAT 1):
 LQ / 109.7 MHz
 LM / 110.5 MHz
 LQ / 333.2 MHz
 LM / 329.6 MHz

- Preferntial Runway Scheme (PRS)

RWY 13/31

The runway in use (RIU) selected in LMML for IFR flights shall be RWY-31 from 0600LT to 1800LT and RWY-13 from 1800LT to 0600LT. Requests by pilots for departure and landing on the runway reciprocal to the declared RIU will not be allowed except in cases of emergency, urgency or priority landing. The RIU scheme is not applicable when:

  • the tailwind component for the selected RIU consistently exceeds 5-KT in dry conditions.
  • the tailwind component for the selected RIU exceeds 5-KT including gusts in wet conditions.
  • the ILS and/or DME is not available for the selected RIU, though still available for the reciprocal RWY
  • the crosswind component exceeds 25-KT in dry conditions or 15-KT in wet conditions. In this conditions RWY-23 or RWY-05 shall be declared as the RIU, with RWY-31 or RWY-13 available, as applicable.wind shear has been reported or forecast or when thunderstorms are expected to effect the approach.

RWY 05/23

The VFR PRS for domestic and international VFR flights shall be RWY-23 or RWY-05. This is applicable to all VFR departures and arrivals. Tailwind components exceeding 5-KT will be determine whether RWY-23 or RWY-05 is selected as the preferred VFR runway.

The VFR PRS is not applicable when the crosswind component on runway 23/05 exceeds 15-KT, in which case RWY 13/31 is declared as the RIU, as applicable for IFR flights. In this configuration departures, circuits and arrivals on runway 05/23 are allowed at the discretion of ATC.

The VRF RIU is promulgated on ATIS for all domestic and international VFR flights. VFR pilots should monitor ATIS broadcasts before requesting start-up clearence with Luqa Ground.



Malta International Airport has nine designated apron areas for aircraft:

Apron 1 - parking area for General Aviation a/c of less than 7,000-kgs MTOW; only prop-driven a/c are allowed on stands 1-to-12 (12 parking stands).

Apron 2 - parking area for aircraft up to Code C (14 parking stands).

Apron 3 - parking area for aircraft up to Code B (9+3 parking stands).

Apron 4 - parking area for aircraft up to Code D (5 parking stands).

Apron 5 - parking area for aircraft up to Code A (7 parking stands).

Apron 7 - military apron, Headquarters of the Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta.

Apron 8 - parking area for aircraft up to Code D (7 parking stands).

Apron 9 - main apron, parking area for aircraft up to Code F (23 parking stands, can accommodate 14 to 18 aircraft).

LTM Apron - parking area for aircraft up to Code F (reserved for Lufthansa Technik Malta maintenance operations).

- Apron Charts... [VIEW]


- ICAO Aircraft Code Letter Designations:

Click to edit table header
 Outer main-gear wheel span*
 up to but not including 15m
 up to but not including 4.5m
 15m up to but not including 24m
 4.5m up to but not including 6m
 24m up to but not including 36m
 6m up to but not including 9m
 36m up to but not including 52m
 9m up to but not including 14m
 52m up to but not including 65m
 9m up to but not including 14m
 65m up to but not including 80m
 14m up to but not including 16m

  * distance between the outside edges of the main-gear wheels


Air Traffic Control (ATC) Services

The entity responsible for providing the ATC Services at Malta IAP and in Malta FIR is Malta Air Traffic Services Ltd. (MATS). MATS assumed control of all air traffic and technical support services within the Malta FIR with effect from 1-Jan-2002, in accordance with the Air Navigation License granted by the Maltese Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). 

MATS, a fully-owned Government company, provides a variety of services aimed at ensuring that aircraft flying in the Malta FIR are safely separated in accordance with international civil aviation regulations.


- Malta Flight Information Region (FIR)

Malta FIR is divided in the vertical axis in two levels:

  • the lower level, from Mean Sea Level (MSL) to flight level 19,500 feet (FL195) is known as Malta FIR.
  • the upper level, from FL195 to unlimited level, is known as Malta Upper Information Region (UIR).

Malta FIR is divided in the horizontal axis into two sectors: 

  • the Malta-West sector 
  • the Malta-East sector 

The line joining the point 363000N 0160000E (on the Rome/Malta FIR) boundary and the point 342000N 0174000E (on the Malta/Tripoli FIR boundary) separates the West and the East sectors within the Malta FIR.

Malta FIR/UIR is surrounded by Rome FIR/UIR to the north, Athens FIR/UIR to the west, Tripoli FIR to the south and Tunis FIR/UIR to the west.

Terminal Control Area & Control Areas

Malta FlR has one Terminal Control Area (TMA).  TMA is the designated area of controlled airspace surrounding a major airport where there is a high volume of traffic.  TMA airspace is normally designed in a circular configuration centered on the geographic coordinates of the airport.  Malta's TMA is approximately 60 NM in diameter, with Malta IAP as the centre. 

In Malta TMA there are three Control Areas. A Control Area is the volume of controlled airspace that exists in the vicinity of an airport.  The three Control Areas are: 

  • Malta Control Traffic Zone, with 20-nm radius from MLA DME.
  • Area of Gozo, with a 17-nm radius from GZO VOR/DME.
  • Luqa Aerodrome Traffic Zone, with a 9-nm radius from MLA DME. 

- ATC Services provided by MATS

- Area Control Centre

The Area Control Centre (ACC) provides air traffic services for all traffic transiting through the Malta FIR.  MATS personnel working in the ACC are responsible for providing control and information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of flight in Malta FIR primarily with the aid of seven radar stations.  Four are locally based at Dingli, Fawwara, Luqa and Hal Far, a radar situated at Ustica (north of Palermo, Sicily) and two radars based at Kithira and Lefkas in Greece.  The minimum horizontal radar separation is:

  • 10 nautical miles (outside Malta TMA).
  • 5 nautical miles (within Malta TMA and the airspace above it).

- Approach Control

Aircraft arriving at and departing from MIA usually do so under the guidance and control of MATS's Approach Controllers frequently aided by short range approach radars.  The provision of radar service by approach has the objectives of:

  • Providing radar vectoring to arriving aircraft to pilot-interpreted final approach aid. 
  • Provide radar vectoring to arriving aircraft to a point from which a visual approach can be completed.
  • Provide radar vectoring for the purpose of resolving potential conflicts.

Approach is responsible for aircraft that have been released to the unit (by Tower or ACC) and flying:

  • In the Malta Control Zone.
  • In the Area of Gozo.
  • In the Malta Terminal Control Area as appropriate. 

- Aerodrome Control 

The main function of MATS's Aerodrome Control is to issue information and clearances to aircraft under its control, to maintain necessary clearances and to prevent collisions between:

  • Aircraft flying in the aerodrome traffic circuit around the aerodrome.
  • Aircraft operating on the manoeuvring area (runways and taxiways).
  • VFR traffic in the sectors around Malta and Gozo.
  • Aircraft landing and taking off.
  • Aircraft and vehicles on the manoeuvring area.
  • Aircraft on the manoeuvring area and obstructions on that area.

MATS's Aerodrome Control is manned by a two-man team, an Aerodrome Controller and an Aerodrome Coordinator.  While close co-ordination is effected between the two controllers, the Aerodrome Coordinator shall mainly be responsible for the vehicular movements on the manoeuvering area and for working parties operating on the movement area.  The Controllers' main tool is the old Eyeball.  Controllers also have a feed from the radar that helps him locate aircraft around the airfield.  The Aerodrome Controller is also responsible for alerting the Fire Section in the case of an incident or accident on the airport or in the vicinity of the airfield.

- Ground Control 

The Ground controller provides advisory and flight information service to aircraft on the ground at Luqa.  The Controller is also responsible for allocating the parking stand to arriving aircraft as well as delivering the ATC clearance to aircraft departing from Luqa. In addition, Ground controllers also act as the link between the aircraft flight crews and the airport in general.

- ATC Frequencies

Click to edit table header
 Malta Control (West):
 130.975 MHz (127.525 MHz secondary)
 Malta Control (East):
 123.625 MHz (122.778 MHz secondary)
 Luqa Approach:
 128.150 MHz (118.350 MHz secondary)
 Luqa Tower:
 135.100 MHz (133.900 MHz secondary)
 Luqa Ground:
 121.600 MHz (121.825 MHz secondary)
Luqa Terminal Information (ATIS):
 127.400 MHz

Disclaimer Note: All above information is hereby being given as an ease of reference ONLY and is NOT suitable for any flight-planning from/to Malta or whatsoever.

Sources:  Malta International Airport plc, Directorate of Civil Aviation - Transport Malta and Malta Air Traffic Services Ltd.