A public tender issued by Transport Malta calls for the construction of a seaplane slipway in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq – a project this is expected to cost taxpayers some €90,000, except there are no operators of seaplanes in Malta offering any sort of transport service to the public.
The tender asks contractors to build a slipway just off the Coast Road, specifically designed to cater for seaplanes. Asked to state whether Transport Malta, the government or the private sector are planning to introduce some sort of seaplane transport service, a spokesman for the Authority confirmed there was no such plan.
The only such seaplane service making trips between Malta and Gozo folded in 2012 because it was not commercially viable.
Pressed by The Shift to explain the need for a slipway if there was no plan to introduce a seaplane for public service, the spokesman said there was a demand from “private owners and operators who wish to operate seaplanes from the sea around Malta”.
Transport Malta did not name the private owners or operators requesting that the government builds a slipway for them using public funds.
The Shift is informed no applications for any such commercial services have been submitted to Transport Malta.
Meanwhile, very few seaplanes are registered on the island and they belong to enthusiasts. They include a senior official at the Civil Aviation Directorate at Transport Malta, according to industry sources.
The call is expected to close later this month and specifies that the new seaplane slipway is to be completed by the beginning of next summer.