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Operations Section

Air Traffic Control

The Air Traffic Control services provided by Malta Air Traffic Services Ltd are grouped under three major areas, which are described below:
The Area Control Centre provides air traffic services for all traffic transiting through the Malta Flight Information Region (FIR).

This traffic consists of:

  • En route traffic, that is traffic that over-flies the Malta FIR without landing in Malta
  • Traffic landing at or departing from Lampedusa, an Italian island which lies within the Malta FIR

The Approach Control Service provides air traffic services to aircraft approaching to or departing from Malta International Airport. The terminal approach service has the responsibility to guide arriving aircraft to a visual or instrument approach for a safe landing and to provide guidance to aircraft departing from Malta towards their destination. Departing aircraft are also separated from arriving aircraft until they are cleared to join their respective routes.

The sector responsible to provide approach control service is also responsible for over flights, which cross the Malta TMA below FL200.

Area Control

MATS personnel working in the Area Control Centre (ACC) are responsible for providing control and information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of flight by means of radar. The radar system in Malta gathers information from 5 different radar stations. Two are locally based, one at Luqa and the other at Dingli. The third radar is situated at Ustica just north of Palermo, Sicily. Two radar stations in Greece, at Kithira and Lefkas provide coverage of the East sector of the Malta airspace. The minimum Radar separation in Malta FIR is either: • 10 nautical miles (NM) (outside Malta TMA) • Or • 5 nautical miles (NM) (within the Malta TMA and the airspace above it) This means that aircraft flying at the same level in the Maltese airspace are kept 10NM or 5NM horizontally apart depending in which part of the airspace they are operating in.

The main function of Aerodrome Control is to issue information and clearances to aircraft under its control, to maintain separation and to prevent collisions between:

  • Aircraft flying in the aerodrome traffic circuit around the aerodrome
  • Aircraft operating on the maneuvering area (runways and taxiways)
  • VFR traffic in the sectors around MALTA and GOZO
  • Aircraft landing and taking off
  • Aircraft and vehicles on the maneuvering area
  • Aircraft on the maneuvering area and obstructions on that area

Aerodrome Control is provided by a three men team, an Aerodrome Controller, Ground Controller and an Aerodrome Coordinator. While close co-ordination is affected between the three controllers during provision of this service, the Aerodrome coordinator is mainly responsible for the vehicular movements on the maneuvering area and for working parties operating on the movement area.

The Controllers’ main function is to ensure safety and efficiency by visual means. Controllers also have a feed from the radar that helps them locate aircraft around the airfield. The Aerodrome Controller is also responsible for alerting the Fire Section in the case of an incident or accident on the airport or in the vicinity of the airfield.

We provide the following services to our users:

  • Airspace Reservation (Civil / Military)
  • Route Proposals and updates
  • General AO Support