Corinthia company given €800,000 direct order to start work on Gozo airstrip

The Gozo Ministry, now also responsible for the Planning Authority (PA), has initiated plans to build a new airstrip in Xewkija’s Ta’ Lambert despite the lack of a planning permit and numerous environmental reports still missing from the application.

The Shift is informed the government awarded a direct order to QPM Ltd – a Corinthia hotels company – last month to start work on the engineering and designs required for the new controversial project.

The contract, worth €800,000 to the company controlled by hotel mogul Alfred Pisani, is the second issued on this project to the same company, following a €40,000 direct order issued to QPM in 2022.

QPM is not known to have any experience with such projects.

The latest move by the Gozo Ministry has raised eyebrows in the Gozo community. Many oppose the extension of the heliport to start catering for small aircraft, particularly due to its negative environmental impact and lack of commercial demand.

All past attempts to establish a commercial air link between the two islands have failed miserably and all five companies that attempted a service, either by helicopter or seaplane, folded after accumulating massive debts.

Minister Camilleri plans to extend the current airstrip at the Xewkija heliport from 174 to 450 metres, following plans launched in 2022. The project also includes creating four aprons to serve as parking for small planes and an air ambulance helicopter already in place.

According to the minister, all this, together with the purchase of three nine-seater planes, will cost €2.5 million.

Minister Camilleri’s assumptions are based on an economic study by Bank of Valletta Chairman Gordon Cordina through his private consultancy, E-Cubed.

Cordina’s study faced criticism that it was based on assumptions instead of adequate market research.

A planning application was filed in 2022 by the Gozo Ministry but no progress has been registered since.

Before proceeding further, the Environment and Resources Authority requested noise emissions and vibrations studies, among other data, while the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage asked for an archaeological assessment.

None of these studies have been done.

                           

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13 Comments
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Jools Seizure
Jools Seizure
1 month ago

They’re so confident the overwhelming majority of Ġaħans will return them to power again and again that they just couldn’t give a damn. There’s only one solution and it involves Malta International Airport and a one-way ticket.

Simon Camilleri
Simon Camilleri
1 month ago

Hmm I wonder why they would award a direct order to a company with no experience…..what could it be…..
Gahans cheer.
Non-gahans weep.

Mamo Anthony T
Mamo Anthony T
1 month ago

“ According to the minister, all this, together with the purchase of three nine-seater planes, will cost €2.5 million.”
Is he crazy or what? How did he reach that figure? €2.5 million for runway extention, hard standings and 3 in number 9-seater planes?

Reality
Reality
30 days ago
Reply to  Mamo Anthony T

Ghaliex jaf li l-ighna jibjlghu kollox . Zomm il-poplu njurant halli jkollok cans TISRAQ KEMM TIFLAH

Bamboccu
Bamboccu
1 month ago

Din ma nistax nifhem
Jekk ghal Jason A kunsulenza ta’ 150k hija jaqq din li tigi mill familja ta’ APC xhini?

Albertos
Albertos
1 month ago

100-200 new pilots per year. ~50 hours of flight for each one of them. Cant fly far away from land in training so …. Gozo will have up to 10.000 hours of constant engine noise low agl constantly each year.

Victor Formosa
Victor Formosa
1 month ago

Really the Minister is talking from his backside. 3 (9seater) planes for less then 2.5 million Euros. Whom is he kidding??

Kurt
Kurt
30 days ago
Reply to  Victor Formosa

Probably leased or second hand.

Reality
Reality
30 days ago
Reply to  Victor Formosa

Forsi tal-plastik kif kienet qalet justin il-kobra ghawdxija.

Redent
Redent
30 days ago

It took the americans 15 days to build an airstrip in the same place in 1942.. shall we start counting the days?

Last edited 30 days ago by Redent
Reality
Reality
30 days ago

Kulhadd jithanzer min fuq dahar il-haddiem onest
Pajjiz tal- maffiosii, hallelin,gakbini w assassini.

Leonard EllBon
Leonard EllBon
29 days ago

Gozo Channel service went to the dogs these last few weeks, hours waiting time, since the substandard boat, Nikolaos is out of service. Instead of investing on a new needed boat the Ministry of Gozo is wasting money on airstrip. As if anyone is willing to go to the airport park car and travel to Gozo. The only person who can do such thing is the minister himself as he has a chauffeur paid by us.

Alex Brincat
Alex Brincat
28 days ago

I simply cannot understand why all this opposition to a small runway. As a person much in favour of renewables and real sustainability, against overcongesting the island with traffic, there are several benefits of airfields, where wildlife can thrive. At the hangar I have at MIA, small birds (tal-bejt) nest there and I never remove their eggs or nests, leaving them water in summer. So why all this misinformed bad press?

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