Student pilots from various local flight schools have launched an appeal to highlight the challenges they face due to recent restrictions imposed on their professional pilot training.
In a letter addressed to the House of Representatives and the aviation training community, the students expressed their concerns regarding the detrimental impact of these restrictions.
The restrictions include the Air Traffic Controllers Association directive to cease intersection take-offs and disallow touch-and-go exercises for code A aircraft, which forced the students to backtrack the entire length of a 3.5-kilometre runway, causing substantial delays and financial burdens.
Moreover, the denial of touch-and-go training sessions, a vital component of flight training, hindered the students’ ability to learn various phases of flight, from take-off to landing.
The letter also highlights how the recent closure of the secondary runway 23/05 at Malta International Airport for maintenance has led to further restrictions and has limited the students’ flying days to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday.
The appeal notes how these restrictions significantly affect the time-barred students due to European Aviation Safety Association (EASA) regulations. These repercussions include the need to travel to Sicily for training exercises, increased flight time and additional expenses, such as ground handling expenses, impacting the students’ financial situation by thousands of euros.
In their letter, the students ask for clarification on how these restrictions will be addressed and question who will compensate them for the extra block time, flight time, handling charges, and landing charges.
The students urge the relevant authorities, including the Minister for Transport, Minister for Education, Malta Air Traffic Services, Malta International Airport, and other entities, to consider the impact on students and the training industry.
They also call for effective communication and collaboration to find solutions that balance safety standards with the needs of the aviation training community.
The petition can be signed at the following link.