19 JUNE 2002
By Ray Abdilla
Parties interested in the long-awaited aviation project earmarked for Safi are still in the dark about the project they had applied for through the Malta Development Corporation some five years ago.
Over a year ago Malta Development Corporation chairman Lawrence Zammit had told the Malta Financial and Business Times he had hoped a decision regarding the application put forth by local company Aviation Consultants Ltd which, together with the Russian company Aeroflot, has been waiting in the wings for some time, would be made.
Speaking to this newspaper Anthony Mario Vella from Aviation Consultants Ltd said that although the application was put forward five years ago, and had received no reply whatsoever, his company and Aeroflot are still interested in seeing the venture through, even though the Lufthansa - Air Malta deal has been sealed.
"My company and Aeroflot still want to open up business in Malta and although something similar has already been given the go-ahead, we do not mind because we are not afraid of competition.
"What we cant understand is why we were ill-treated as intention had always been to start off a decent company, putting people to work, while we would also work with the Malta Drydocks in terms of the provision of steel works and other related work.
"We cant understand why we also had to put our applications forward once again for an aircraft hanger when everything was in order. Aeroflot phone me frequently about our application and they always ask why is it taking so long."
Discussions were still being held on the subject of who would be responsible for the project. At one time it had been in the hands of the MDC, while rumours had also emerged that the issue could have been handed over to the Malta International Airport, but it hadnt.
Well connected companies in the aviation industry from Europe, the United States and South Africa were still waiting to find out whether an aircraft maintenance and servicing company could be set up in Malta and now it has. However the easing of the United Nations sanctions towards Libya means that much of the aviation maintenance could take place there as well.