Malta’s largest aviation conference has this year outdone itself. With delegates filling every corner of the Salini Resort hall, and over sixty aviation companies and entities represented, the Malta Aviation Outlook has consolidated its reputation as Malta’s premier aviation event. It offered delegates unparalleled insight into the often overlooked subject of paper airlines and ACMI operators. This year the board, led by CEO Ms Marvic Bugeja, have succeeded in bringing to our shores two top notch foreign speakers – CAPA analyst Richard Maslen and FTI Group CEO Dietmar Gunz. The two speakers underscored the struggles that the Paper Airline industry is facing on the fringes of the European continent. The underlying theme discussed throughout the whole conference has been whether paper airlines still have a role to play within the European network.
The conference was also addressed by Air Malta’s former CEO Joe Galea, who compared the idea of a paper airline to that of a restaurant. He drew on the parallelism that exists between the two business models. More importantly Joe Galea made a number of suggestions as to what might help a paper airline survive in today’s ultra-competitive market. He emphasized that such survival strategies should be urgently implemented given the imminent decreasing demand for air travel which will continue to result from a slowdown in the German market and a generally weaker European economy. As mentioned earlier Richard Maslen’s in-depth analysis at how major legacy carriers are giving birth to paper airlines as a marketing ploy to garner an ever bigger share of the market got the attention of all those present.
On a different note, Col. Mark Said(retired) launched his well-researched book BROKEN WINGS. It deals with all the aircraft accidents that happened in Malta from the first flight that took place on the island way back in 1915 till today.
The award winning ceremony was the highlight of the half-day conference. The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Transport Malta Chairman & CEO Joseph Bugeja, went to Captain Gaston Debono. Capt. Debono started his career as a Boeing 720B flight engineer with Air Malta way back in 1975. He is an accomplished pilot having a career that spans more than 45 years. He played a pivotal role in attracting Touristic Aviation Services Ltd to Malta, a company that will soon have 5 Boeing 737s registered on the island and a fleet of about thirty aircraft through its three affiliates in Malta, Holland and Turkey.
The Leader of the Year award went to aircraft engineer Daniel Galea who started as an apprentice at Medavia and rose through the ranks to finally be appointed as COO/ Accountable Manager at the Safi Aviation-Park company. Daniel Galea has recently left Medavia and joined SR Technics as Vice-President Operations. The award was presented by the Chair of the Select Committee at MAviO, Dr Francesca Galea.
The much coveted Aviator-of-the-Year Award went to Spanish Captain David Torregrosa who on July 17th[DS1] , while in cruise on the left hand seat of a Maltese-registered Boeing 737, experienced a rapid depressurisation of the aircraft. Captain Torregrosa kept his composure and was highly commended for his handling of the event. Passengers were thankful for the professionalism shown by the crew led by the aforementioned Captain
At the end of the MAviO conference, CEO Marvic Bugeja highlighted the event’s primary importance in bringing together under one roof the myriad of local aviation companies. She also took the occasion to show her appreciation towards the board members who have worked incessantly to make this year’s event a massive success.
The ninth-edition of the Malta Aviation Outlook will be held on Monday 4th May 2020 with the theme being – Pilot Shortage in Malta Myth or Reality ?. The Board of Directors at MAviO is made up of Ms Marvic Bugeja as CEO, University of Malta senior lecturer Riccardo Flask as Deputy CEO and Dr Francesca Galea, Ms Joanne Calleja, Captain Sinclair Portelli, Louise Vella, Christine Gatt and Chris Cauchi as members.