Aaron Farrugia Ministry for Transport Infrastructure and Capital Projects


Having recently been appointed as Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, what are your first impressions of the aviation industry here in Malta?

I was very much surprised by the drive of the industry and the enthusiasm of the stakeholders.  Our aircraft registry which has now exceeded 700 aircraft, is expected to surpass 800 by next year. I came to my role during the post-pandemic opening, and I have not had a single day without something or other landing on my desk. I have met so many passionate people who love the industry and want to see it grow.

It is also encouraging that this thriving industry is creating quality jobs across the board.  We are working to ensure that aviation is recognized as a main player in our economy and be given the recognition it truly deserves. Jobs become careers, and increasing the talent pool, with education and transfer of knowledge we will prepare our country for a new wave of young workers who are attracted to the aviation cluster.

As aviation falls under your ministry, what are your goals and expectations for this industry?

The most important thing is to work towards a safe but efficient industry. The oversight needs to be rigorous but fair and pragmatic. We need to match the industry when it comes to drive and also expertise as we need to work together. There have been astronomical increases in numbers over the last years. We need to maintain this positive growth in a sustainable manner but the focus needs to be on the safety of crew, workers, and the general public.

Malta has already become the jurisdiction of choice; we aim to maintain this successful drive, and the goal is to see this industry flourish to level that we will have another success story as that we currently have with the Maltese Maritime flag – first in Europe, sixth in the world.

Are there any major changes or challenges that you envisage happening in the next few months?

One of our challenges is to keep up with demand and satisfy expectations. We need to stay at the top of our game and not become complacent.

Seeing that the Civil Aviation Directorate within Transport Malta has been rapidly and successfully growing the aviation cluster, how do you plan to support them in their regulatory/oversight and promotional obligations?

I have grown to understand the requirements, and I know that we need to support CAD by giving them all the required resources and innovating where possible. I have embarked on a series of meetings to listen to the industry, and we will have an updated policy document that not on outlines our ambitions but sets achievable targets. CAD is the driver of the industry, and it is important that they have all that it takes to accept the challenges of new markets and new technology. Agility is part of the formula for becoming who we are today.  We want CAD to grow in size and in quality, but extensive training and provision of the necessary tools and technologies to facilitate the fast pace we are working in.

As an island on the periphery of the EU, we depend on aviation, and we need to defend our interests against the one size fits all attitude that some are pushing. Let us work together for greener aviation that is sustainable both environmentally and economically for Malta.

Do you see that urban mobility problems can be alleviated by evtol innovations?

I do see this as something which could help mitigate the bottlenecks. There is a dire need to address the ‘last mile’ in Malta, and one solution could be Evtol which provides green mobility as the crow flies, avoiding long winding paths to the final destination. This is a topic that is on the table, and we are keen to see what can be done. The issue here is certifying this new technology and Malta, like other Member states, needs to wait until EASA provides us with the necessary certification so as to allow passengers to actually fly with peace of mind.