Towards the 20th Year of 24/7 service
Malta’s Air Traffic Services know its origin decades ago, starting as a military function, and then in 1979 taking the civilian form, as part of the public service. In 2002, the Government of Malta passed on the Air Traffic Services to the new Company formed – Malta Air Traffic Services (MATS Ltd).
The 2021 Civil Aviation Policy by the Aviation Advisory Committee under the Ministry for Transport, corroborates what MATS has been doing for the last years, amongst others continuing on the several initiatives, and identifying future challenges.
At MATS every second counts and every development is held with aviation authorities and stakeholders in mind, that provide benefits to the national system as well as the wider European Network. We understand that digitalization and sustainability shall be part of our operational process, as a reason of this, even if the revenues fell drastically during the last two years, MATS kept investing heavily in its assets and resources. Amongst others the projects by MATS include:
- Upgrade of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system
- Introduction of Medium Term Conflict Detection (MTCD) intended to identify early detection of conflicts ensuring better planning, improving safety and increasing capacity. MTCD was one of the technical enhancers required for the implementation of Free Route Airspace.
- Introduction of an ATM Standby Backup System and Fallback System
- Introduction of ADS-B in the East sector of the Malta FIR as an additional layer of Surveillance
- Introduction of a Contingency OPS Room
- Introduction of redundant IP networks with Rome and Greece
- The VHF links with Greece have been migrated to VoIP to increase reliability and to improve quality of transmission
The evolution of air traffic management (ATM) systems and tools has been and will remain fundamental enablers of more improvements, however the costs for MATS will not be little, yet we are committed to continue.
MATS Ltd ensured Malta’s continuous participation in the Single European Sky (SES) initiatives, one of the major projects of the European Union. Balancing the requirements of Airspace Users and Malta’s interest is not an easy task – being at the European periphery neighbouring with a continent which has episodes of political unrests has presented many challenges but MATS keeps striving.
Another commitment in line with the National Civil Aviation Policy is towards the environment. A leading example is the implementation of the Free Route Airspace, well in advance of regulatory requirements, reducing fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and costs to the Airspace Users. MATS’ adherence to departure slots is also impeccable, measuring well above the required target stated in EU regulations.
Safety management is an integral part of the provision of air navigation services, hence our participation with the local aviation stakeholders including the daily activity of unmanned aircraft, in particular those operating in the vicinity of the airfield or in the runway flight paths.
The next 20 Years
Malta’s airspace requires ongoing modernization while more and new airspace users such as drones will be integrated. We are committed to serve, given that any demand can be met safely and efficiently.
We cannot go to rest, we just need support!