19 April 2024 Misc. » Fifty Years Ago » Aviation, Civil  

Aviation, Civil


Malta’s own air fleet is growing - and growing fast; so much so that the time is not far off when one will be able to catch a plane for Tunis, Tripoli, Catania and other points in the circuit, and hop over in much the same time one takes in bussing it to Mellieha or Marfa.

The fleet, trim-looking Airspeed Consuls with a seating capacity for five passengers, will eventually number 11. The forerunner of the fleet, piloted by Captain Richards, a former Royal Air Force bomber pilot who served with the "Pathfinders", has been operating from Malta since early this year; the second, piloted by Captain Henry, also a former Royal Air Force pilot, landed at Luqa yesterday in the course of a passenger-carrying flight from Tunis to Naples. A third is expected to reach Malta during the week.

The fleet is owned and operated by Messrs Instone Airlines (Malta) 1946, Ltd.

March 15, 1947: "SILVER CITY" AT LUQA

The "Silver City" Lancastrian plane arrived at Luqa yesterday, a comfortable 13-seater, bringing with it Air Commodore G. Powell, OBE, Managing Director of British Aviation Services Ltd...

The plane and party have been away from England this last month, Malta being the last lap on the journey, having called at Melbourne, Port Darwin, Rangoon, Singapore, Karachi and Basra.

May 12, 1947: MALTA AIRWAYS

Mr Robert Maxwell who is the adviser on overseas relations of the British Overseas Airways Corporation is in Malta in connection with the settling of final details with Malta Airways Ltd regarding air services to the United Kingdom and to the Continent in association with British Overseas Airways Corporation.


To the Editor Times of Malta

Sir, - I have read of questions having been put in the House of Commons with regard to the inadequacy of the Luqa Aerodrome to provide facilities for continuous use by four-engined aircraft...

In the light of such facts, I cannot refrain from asking why the Qrendi-Siggiewi Strip has not so far been fully developed so as to meet the requirements of a civil airport, accommodating thereby small aircraft for daily passenger service.

Such questions had drawn my attention long ago. In fact, availing myself of the opportunity, during the early few months 1 enjoyed as a member of the Council of Government, 1 submitted to the Director of Public Works... a scheme for a road of approach to the Siggiewi terminus (carefully outlined and laid out by my friend, Mr Carmel Chetcuti, A & CE) showing how this road could-also- be developed as a residential area for those who would have liked to make a long sojourn...

All would agree that Siggiewi, besides being one of the Island's healthiest spots, would be ideal if fully developed along these lines.

K.VASSALLO, Siggiewi.


Developments in the expansion of air services from and to Malta are foreshadowed by the arrival on Saturday of Mr A.S. Linney of British Aviation Services.

The visit of Mr. Linney is connected with the projected amalgamation into one operating company to be called "Air Malta Ltd." of the present organisations associated with "Malt-Air".

It is learned unofficially but authoritatively that the proposed new company will have a predominantly Maltese subscribed capital up to £150,000. (It) will be prepared to operate unsubsidised air services to British, Continental and North African airports, and envisages the early acquisition of Concordia 10-seater passenger aircraft to be based in Malta.


The Viking aircraft of the King's Flight rose majestically into the air precisely at 9 a.m. bearing Britain's Royal Ambassadors [the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester] on their homeward journey, their mission - one of launching Malta on the long path of self government - successfully completed. As it did so, naval ships in harbour fired a royal salute.

Malta will long remember the occasion; the intimate interest, the distinguished visitors evinced in their island tour, the courtesy and charm with which they received and talked with men and women of all walks of our island life; above all, the royal link with the island's destiny...

February 3, 1948: AIR LINKS WITH EUROPE

The British European Airways' Viking which left Luqa yesterday morning was operating the last of BEA's once-weekly services to London...

A new phase linking Malta even more closely to Europe begins on Thursday next when the first of BEA's new twice-weekly services from London via Rome is due in Malta at 6.50 p.m.

From February 5, both these services will operate via Rome and Marseilles, arriving in Malta every Thursday and Sunday, and departing for London every Friday and Monday. They will connect in Rome with other BEA services to Greece on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and to Turkey on Fridays and Sundays.

The new services will be operated throughout by the famous 24-seater Vikings, and passengers leaving Malta at 9 o'clock in the morning will be at Airways Terminal, Victoria, shortly after 8 o'clock that evening.

March 21, 1948: “Mercury II” in Malta

Mercury II, the four engined Lincoln aircraft of the Empire radio School, arrived at Luqa Airport yesterday afternoon on the final stage of a two-month signals liaison flight to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.

The aircraft, which carries a complement of 12, led by Group Captain C.M. Stewart, is making a three-day stay here.

Sunday, May 2, 1948: From the advertisements [Air Malta]

Fly Air Malta (H.M. mail carriers). Feeder Line services to North Africa, Italy. Book through Air Malta Travel Bureau, 60 South Street, Valletta. Phone Central 4902, or at travel agents.

October 13, 1948: B.O.A.C. AND MALTA

The B.O.A.C. Malta Office has been informed that the London decision to close down the Malta Office as from the end of the month has been suspended. The British Overseas Airways Corporation's through-services will continue to operate until December 1948.

October 14, 1948: MALTA AIRWAYS

At a general meeting of Malta Airways Co., Ltd., at the Exchange Buildings, Valletta, on Tuesday morning, shareholders unanimously approved the agenda.

The first proposal was to increase the subscribed capital of the Company to £200,000 of which only one-tenth of the shares will be issued at present. Of this amount, British European Airways Corporation are taking up one-third.

The new Board of Directors will consist of five Directors, of whom three will be elected by the Malta shareholders while two will be nominated by British European Airways Corporation.

Sunday, December 19, 1948: Minister of Civil Aviation to discuss future of Luqa

(Reuter’s service) LONDON, December 18.

It is authoritatively learned that the British Minister of Civil Aviation, Lord Pakenham, will discuss the future of Luqa Airport during his visit to Malta...

It was announced in the House of Commons last week that a Commission would visit Malta early in the new year to investigate the future possibilities of civil aviation... The announcement was in reply !o a Member of Parliament who had asked whether the Commission would bear in mind the "increasing unemployment in Malta so as to see that they may get a square deal in the matter."


Sir, - The B.O.A.C. (British Overseas Airways Corporation) state that they have to operate commercially and cater for higher rewards than are available in Malta. They say they have to compete with foreign air lines. Surely the best way to compete is to have a British base with all the amenities that can rival Rome. A good airport and a good hotel in Malta mean a great deal to the traveller - who is the ultimate judge of the services rendered.

The Hotel Phoenicia is one of the best in Europe and can hold its own with any in Rome.

It is to be hoped that the Civil Aviation Commission, now in Malta, will endeavour to ensure that Luqa Airport is maintained in a condition to ensure that the proving flights of the Canadian and Hermes aircraft that will be replacing the Yorks this spring will be successful in every way.

Yours truly,



May 3, 1949: Malta among 22 countries buying aircraft from Britain

[Extract from report]

Orders which have been placed in Great Britain during the past six months and negotiations now reaching the signature stage seem likely to cover the purchase of more than 1,000 aeroplanes.

The countries which have ordered British aeroplanes this year, and which are negotiating contracts, include Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Belgian Congo, Burma, Canada, France, Denrnark, Holland, India. Kenya, Lebanon, Malaya, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and West Africa...

A popular choice of the overseas buyer has been the Dove whose production is now entering its fourth year and showing no sign of flagging. A Dove for a local air company was blessed by His Grace Mgr Michael Gonzi and christened "City of Valletta" by Mrs Boffa, wife of the Prime Minister [the Hon. Dr Paul Boffa, at Luqa on Monday..


Fly De Havilland 8- 11 seater "Dove", the best British feeder line aircraft... For particulars apply Air Malta Ltd., 12, South Street, Valletta.


The Aviation Service Station of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company at Luqa airfield was thronged with visitors, civilian and service, yesterday afternoon when His Grace Mgr Michael Gonzi, Metropolitan Archbishop, blessed the installation and vehicles.

After His Grace had blessed the buildings and motors, assisted by Father Licari, and Squadron-Leader Father Braithwaite-Young, he made a tour of the quarters, the pumping-houses and vehicles, obviously taking a keen interest in the working of the station...

June 4, 1951: THE CHICKS FLEW IN

A Dakota freighter made a perfect landing at Luqa airport shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday. Seventy cardboard boxes were lifted out containing a large number of seven-day-old chicks imported from Holland by Mr Frank Fabri of Frank's Poultry Farm, St Julian's.

The chicks - some 5,000 in all - had a very good trip and looked well when the cartons were opened for inspection by Mr J. Cesareo, Poultry Technical Officer at the Government farm, Ghammieri. The chicks belong to the Partridge Leghorn, White Leghorn, Exchequer Leghorn, North Dutch Blue, Rhode Island Red and Barnevelders varieties, all noted for a high rate of egg-laying...

Thursday September 21, 1951: THE "AMBASSADOR' DROPS IN ON MALTA

At 2.15 p.m. yesterday a sleek, twin-engined aircraft made a smooth touch-down at RAF Station, Luqa. Its fuselage shimmered in a welcome sun, as, hardly taking up half of the runway length, it swung round to taxi smartly into No 1 Yard, where Malta Airways were waiting to see the first Airspeed "Ambassador" land in Malta.

With its belly amazingly close to the deck... the "Ambassador" stopped and shut down... If rumours are right, Malta will soon be seeing a regular service of "Ambassadors" plying the London-Malta route several times a week.

April 7, 1952: TO LONDON AND BACK BY AIR FOR £60

There is good news for the Maltese businessman and holidaymaker. The Special Excursion Fare from London to Malta and return of £60, which was recently introduced to encourage people from the United Kingdom, now heavily restricted by the £25 travel allowance, to spend their holiday in Malta, is now to work in the reverse direction.

As from April 15 a special Malta-London-Malta excursion fare of £60 is to be introduced, and this will be available all the year round. The duration of validity of the return ticket will be 23 days. It is understood that this is the maximum duration for special excursion fares in Europe allowed by I.A.T.A. regulations.

Monday, April 27, 1953: MALTA AIRWAYS MEETING

The Fourth Annual General Meeting of the General Shareholders of the Malta Airways Company Limited was held recently.

The chairman said that a feature of the accounts, to which he wishes to draw attention, was that the company had a considerable amount of cash in hand and ample reserves. The company holds 75 per cent of the shares in Malta Aviation Services, which commenced operations on July 1, 1952.

The chairman said he was pleased to inform shareholders that approval has been received for the implementation of the new tourist fares, which reduced the cost of air travel and which would also increase business considerably. New premises would shortly be opened in Kingsway. Booking office facilities would be retained at the Hotel Phoenicia.

The chairman continued: "I have no doubt that the influx of tourists will be greatly increased by the reduced air fares and it would indeed be a pity if the available hotel accommodation were found insufficient. Personally I have no doubt that this will be the case, and adequate provision must be taken by enterprising people in Malta to seize the opportunity of cashing in our only asset, namely our geographical position and our climate."

Friday May 3, 1952: "COMET" PASSES OVER MALTA

At Luqa airfield last night everything was ready for the record making De Havilland Comet, Galyp, of British Overseas Airways Corporation, out on its passenger-carrying scheduled service to South Africa. Malta has been chosen as a diversionary airfield for the sleek four-jet aircraft, should the weather foul Beirut airfield - the next hop from Rome.

As it happened, Luqa was not required. All the same, a close listening watch was kept on the commercial wireless wave used by airliners. International Aeradio Limited had its air guard on watch, and attempts were made in poor conditions, to reach the Comet, 39,000 feet above the sea by radio telephone.

Tuesday June 18, 1952: MORE MIGRANTS TAKE TO THE AIR

More and more of Malta's migrants are becoming air-minded. Instead of waiting for a ship or taking the long overseas route many have preferred to fly to the United Kingdom. In the past four days no fewer than 72 migrants to Britain have flown in specially chartered four-engined aircraft. The direct flight takes only seven hours, and the migrant is carried at the abnormally low fare of £2.12s 6d., the balance being made up by the Department of Emigration which first checks the bona-fides of each migrant.

It is hoped that this rapid and comfortable method of transport will gain greater popularity with migrants to the UK.

Friday July 26, 1952: MALTA MEETS THE "VISCOUNT"

An interesting event in the history of civil aviation at Malta took place yesterday morning when a Vickers Viscount powered by four Rolls Royce Dart 504 airscrew turbines gave a demonstration flight.

Before the flight His Excellency the Governor, accompanied by Lady Creasy and Miss Juliet Creasy, toured the airliner and admired the streamlined luxury of the interior. The demonstration flight which was arranged by Malta Airways in conjunction with British European Airways commenced at 11.28 a.m. The Viscount flew to Sicily and returned to Malta at 12.15 p.m., and the aircraft flew at a height of 15,000 to 16,000ft at a cruising speed of 300 miles p.h.

After the flight was over, the passengers who were invited to take part in the demonstration flight together with the crew of the aircraft and civil aviation personalities celebrated the occasion with a luncheon at the Hotel Phoenicia.

After lunch Colonel Strickland, chairman of the Malta Airways, in a short speech, thanked and congratulated the makers of the Vickers Viscount on producing an aircraft that was remarkable for its excellent performance. Col. Strickland envisaged the replacement of aircraft on the routes handled by Malta Airways and BEA with Vickers Viscount which would take place, it is hoped, in the Spring of 1953.

Sunday June 28, 1953: ‘Flying saucer’ was meteorological balloon

A "flying saucer" was reported over Gozo on Friday (the 27th) evening when a glittering object moving in a queer track across the sky was seen by large crowds. The object was observed for a considerable time moving slowly. Later it was also reported by watchers from Sliema. The control tower at Hal Far were told. Luqa was also informed. Both said at first: "We have spotted the object and are making enquiries."

Said Luqa later: "It was a large meteorological balloon released from Malta."


A demonstration flight over Malta was performed yesterday morning by the Royal Mail Aircraft 'Lord Buirghley', one of the British European Airway's 'Elizabethans' which will operate bi-weekly in the London-Malta-London scheduled service as from October next.

Guests on board the "Elizabethan' yesterday were His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government and the Misses Trafford Smith, His Honour the Acting Lieutenant Governor, the Flag Officer Malta, Mrs Reynolds, Mrs Hemming, the Hon Mabel Strickland, the Director of Civil Aviation, representatives of the Services, of the Travel Agencies, of local aviation companies, of the Government Passport Office, the Tourist Bureau, and the Press. Captain Richards, Manager of B.E.A. (Malta) also flew in the 'Elizabethan'. The 35-minute flight gave the passengers an excellent idea of the smoothness and power of the 'Elizabethan' and the luxury of the appointments. The aircraft cruised at 230 miles per hour at a height of 5000 feet. Light refreshments were served during the flight.

In addition to the luxury and comfort the 'Elizabethan' type of airliner has an added asset in that its operating altitude enables it to fly over most of the European winter weather. In this way the average passenger is assured of a fast and steady flight in any weather.


In Nicosia Cyprus, on Saturday, Skyways of London celebrated the opening of their Crusader Service between Britain, Malta and Cyprus. This is the first direct air service between the three islands.

At an inaugural dinner for over 200 at the Ledra Palace Hotel in Nicosia at which the Hon. John Fletcher-Cook, Colonial Secretary at Cyprus was present, Mr Eric Rylands, Managing Director of Skyways Ltd, told the assembled company that he hoped that this new fortnightly service would eventually be run more frequently. Mr Rylands explained that Skyways were already familiar with the route and for the last two years they had been operating air trooping flights on it. In 1953 alone, Skyways have already carried 70,000 passengers on this route. Mr Rylands said that he was certain this new service "would be of great benefit to both Islands, Malta and Cyprus!" The return fare from Malta is £33.8s.0d.

Amongst the other speakers at the dinner, were Colonel Strickland and Miss Elizabeth Bower, who spoke on behalf of Malta.

During the two-day stay in Cyprus the guests visited many places of historical interest.


A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines airliner with 65 Maltese migrants on board left Luqa Airport for Sydney, Australia, yesterday. Despite pressure of air traffic, the usual formalities by the airport police were quickly and efficiently carried out. About 400 relatives were at the airport to see the migrants off. This is the third time that Maltese migrants left by air for Australia, but it is the first time that an airliner was chartered exclusively to carry Maltese migrants. Most of those who left yesterday were males, but it is reported that applications especially by females to travel to Australia by air are increasing fast.


A salary dispute between the International Aeradio Limited and its Malta Staff has been settled out of Court. Mr Ben Smith, General Secretary of the Association of Scientific Workers, arrived in Malta and assisted by the local branch Committee - Mr W. Naudi, President Mr C.F. Stanley, Vice-President, Mr C. Taliana, Treasurer, and Mr E. Mercieca, Secretary - led the negotiations on behalf of the staff side. At a general meeting of the local branch of the Association being held tomorrow Mr Smith will explain the terms of the settlement and put these to the Meeting for approval. Mr Smith said that he had spent a busy but useful time since his arrival here. This is the third time he has come to Malta in connection with staff claims. To date Mr Smith has taken an active part in 65 arbitration cases.


The Director of Civil Aviation Mr G. Smith states that His Excellency the Governor Sir Robert Laycock has been pleased to appoint Mr. J. F. Curmi as Air Manager, Luqa Airport as from December 1. Mr Curmi who has in fact been carrying out for some time the duties relating to his appointment now occupies the highest and the most responsible job held by a Maltese Officer in the Department of Civil Aviation. Mr Curmi's past experience in the aviation and tourist industry make him particularly suited for his new appointment. From 1926 to the outbreak of World War Two Mr Curmi served abroad with Messrs Thomas Cook and American Express. Shortly before Italy entered the War he made his way to the United Kingdom and enlisted in the Army. He was subsequently commissioned and because of his linguistic qualifications was employed on intelligence duties.

Wednesday May 04, 1955: AIR TOURISM - VISIT TO CORSICA

On the initiative of Mr W.O. Lloyd, the new B.E.A. Manager, Malta, British European Airways, invited agents on the island to visit Ajaccio, Corsica, on the occasion of the introduction of the B. E. A. Elizabethan Services to Corsica. The object of this visit is to encourage tourism in both directions. The gentlemen comprising the Malta party to Ajaccio accompanied by Mr J. T. Crossey, General Manager, Malta Airways Company Limited, and Mr R. Trevisan.

B.E.A. sales representatives, Malta and North Africa, were Captain A. Cassar, Manager B. A. S. (Malta) Limited, Mr A. Von Brockdorff, Manager A & V Von Brockdorf Travel Bureau, Mr P. Mifsud, Manager Mifsud Brothers Limited, Captain E. Amato Gauci, Manager, Malta Enterprise, Mr A. Grech, Manager Ed. T. Agius and Company, Mr C. Degiorgio, Manager Mondial Travel Agency and Mr E. Vincenti of the Government Tourism Bureau.

May 22, 1955: Migrants' movements

Another batch of migrants - 72 in all - left by air for Australia yesterday in a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines DC-4 Skymaster airliner. The migrants will arrive in Sydney. First stop of the journey will be at Cairo where the migrants are scheduled to make an overnight stay.

The airliner will make stops at Abadan, Karachi, Calcutta, Singapore, Djakarta, Port Darwin and Cloncurry before landing at Sydney at the end of the journey.

Tuesday, July 19, 1955: CIVIL AVIATION AT MALTA

Work on the new civil terminal area at Luqa Airport is progressing. Meanwhile Mr J.F. Curmi, Airport Manager Luqa, has returned from a month's visit to the United Kingdom. Mr Curmi proceeded to Britain and was attached to Prestwick Airport by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation at the request of the Colonial Office. During his stay of four weeks Mr Curmi studied the methods and techniques employed at Prestwick and brought himself up to date with recent United Kingdom developments which could be applied where necessary to the Malta Civil Airport. Mr Curmi studied the entire airport organisation together with that of Traffic Control and Signal Centres at Redbrae.
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