MIAMI– Malta International Airport (MLA) has launched its most innovative development program to date to fulfill its vision of becoming the airport with the best passenger experience in Europe.

Malta International Airport CC BY-SA 3.0

The terminal’s development program includes a major expansion of floor space, from 18,000sq.m to 31,200sq.m, to tackle MLA’s traffic growth. The transformation includes the check-in hall, security, and departure areas, adding a significant increase in check-in capacity.

Complementing the operational expansion, the development’s main goal is to enhance the passenger experience on all fronts, creating a distinct Sense of Place.

Creating a Sense of Place


To create this Sense of Place, the focus is to design a more natural passing through the terminal while offering passengers better exposure to retail stores and F&B amenities.

The landing zone will include an expanded heart terminal as part of the airside development program. This shape will unite and increase the exposure of retail and catering points for both departing and arriving passengers.

Courtesy: The Design Studio

The development also aims to improve the amount of natural light coming into the terminal, offering passengers a distinct sense of the location and evoking a sense of celebration of the spirit, heritage and natural beauty of Malta.

The airport’s comprehensive investment program also incorporates new developments across the airport estate, including the work of the Apron, the construction of an additional business park (SkyParks II) and the building of a new hotel.

Moreover, the addition of a new state-of-the-art building management system will enable energy and water management support for the development of an energy-efficient building.

The ambitious project involves all aspects of the airport’s operations and every touchpoint in the passenger journey. The planning and designing of the €100million development are handled by experts at The Design Solution and consultants at Pragma.

A vision for the long term


Alan Borg, CEO, MLA, outlines his vision of the airport’s development, saying, “Having officially unveiled the Terminal Expansion Project to the public in January, we are now eager to kick-start the next phase of this ambitious project.”

“The Terminal Expansion Project will equip us with the capacity to handle further traffic growth and enable us to offer a 5-star airport experience. This will be achieved through a combination of increased operational space, a superior F&B and retail offering, a stronger sense of place and the use of cutting-edge technologies.”

Courtesy: The Design Studio

The design of the expanded terminal will capture the spirit of the Maltese islands, particularly through the use of traditional patterns and materials and colors that are evocative of the sea and clear skies, complemented by a play of light through the building, evoking the energy and warmth of Malta and its people.

Graeme Johns, Director of the UK based The Design Solution, outlines the architectural plan at MLA: “The Design Solution has a long history of partnership with the dedicated team at MLA and we are proud to have been selected to support them on this major phase of the airport’s development.”

The Design Studio has worked in 331 projects, 55 countries, 125 Airports, and 149 Terminals

Johns says, “the plan incorporates three main areas of expansion to the terminal, collectively enabling us to implement a change of image to the exterior appearance of the building that, carefully co-ordinated with our planning input, will help deliver a smarter flow and a new experience for the passenger.”

“The axial nature of the original building was used to deliver an order to the main architectural elements, thus maintaining the airport’s twin wish to retain the architectural symmetry and design aesthetic of the building,” added Johns.

Malta International Airport view from the Tarmac CC BY-SA 3.0

MLA achieved passenger growth of 7.4% in 2019 (7.31million). With 20 new destinations, MLA is host to 97% of the island’s tourist traffic, making it a crucial contributor to the Maltese economy.


Article by Helwing Villamizar