The Malta Aviation Outlook moved out of its habitual nest in St Venera to a completely new venue, the Salini Resort in Bahar ic-Caghaq. The Select Committee, led by well known lawyer Dr Francesca Galea had a very difficult task, as the amount of nominations received reached an all-time high of more than 55. She was ably assisted by University of Malta lecturer Riccardo Flask and Captain Sinclair Portelli.
The Aviator of the Year Award was awarded to Captain David Torregrosa, who in July 2018, while flying along the Adriatic coast at FL350 experienced rapid depressurization of the cabin. The professionalism shown by the Spanish captain was highly commended by the authorities as well as by the passengers on board who were very grateful for the quick action taken by the captain and his crew to avoid any serious repercussions. The award was presented by Enemed’s Executive Head – Aviation Division Ing. Allan Micallef.
The Leader of the Year Award, went to Ing. Daniel Galea. He was instrumental in putting Medavia Technics on the MRO map, thanks to a number of initiatives taken to widen the range of services offered by the company. Under his helm, Medavia Technics got the certification to perform maintenance on the ATR aircraft as well as on the Q400. His leadership qualities did not go unnoticed and Daniel Galea played a pivotal role in Medavia’s unabated expansion on the African continent with Line Maintenance Stations being opened in Ghana and South Sudan among others. Medavia has also attracted an array of new clients, including Passion Air and Elix Aviation Capital whose repeated business is testimony to the great work carried out by Ing. Galea. The award was handed by MAviO Director Dr Francesca Galea.
The coveted Lifetime Achievement Award was handed to Captain Gaston Debono, whose careers spans more than 45 years. Captain Debono started his career as a flight engineer at Air Malta on the Boeing 720B in 1975. He eventually moved to the right hand seat before being appointed Captain in 1983. Captain Gaston Debono held numerous roles within Air Malta where he was involved in the training of young Air Malta cadets. In 2013, Captain Debono moved to pastures new and has been involved in a number of start-ups including Carre Aviation and Europ-Star. In 2017, Captain Gaston Debono was one of the key figures that managed to bring Touristic Aviation Services Ltd to Malta. The company is the youngest airline of the Corendon Airlines Group, with the other sister companies being based in Holland and Turkey respectively. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by Transport Malta Chairman and CEO Joseph K Bugeja.