15 JANUARY 2003
Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami on Saturday launched the newly set-up Lufthansa Technik Malta, which he describes as a cause for optimism. Fenech Adami also stresses that an exciting future beckons and that Malta must prepare effectively, with a mix of vision and action, to exploit new opportunities to the full
The launching of any new economic activity is always cause for celebration and optimism. Todays inauguration of Lufthansa Technik Malta is by no means an exception - this exciting venture involves our national carrier, Air Malta, and introduces to our shores such a prestigious company as Lufthansa Technik.
However, this general optimism is also underpinned by a very real sense of having achieved a goal that we had set for ourselves some time back. Then, the Malta Enterprise Board, which was established in a co-ordinating role within the Ministry for Economic Services, had recognised Maltas great potential as a location for technical support services in the aviation industry.
Undoubtedly, Malta holds significant potential as a base for aircraft maintenance and servicing, and for other related technical support services. We are ideally situated to develop this kind of aviation business, potentially becoming a major aircraft maintenance base, providing such services to both commercial airlines as well as private aircraft.
The Board had accordingly identified this as a sector that Malta should target and which my Government should actively support.
We are today witnessing the concrete realisation of this policy, and the definitive validation of Malta as a centre for new activity in support of the aviation sector.
From the outset, my Government gave its full backing to the Lufthansa Technik Air Malta joint venture. It is as a result of this support that we are here this morning for the formal inauguration of the activities of this new company, which has been established following the agreement between the two companies signed last June.
As a direct result of this proactive interest on the part of my Government, the Ministry for Economic Services has taken concrete steps to include aircraft maintenance as one of the identified target sectors under the Business Promotion Act. As a result, companies engaged in such activities can now benefit from the full package of fiscal and other incentives that are provided under the Business Promotion Act. The legal notice published under this Act specifically identifies aviation maintenance as a target sector that is hence eligible for investment tax credits and other measures to facilitate the required investment, plus additional assistance such as training grants.
Our wish, but also our conviction, is that the Lufthansa Technik Malta venture will be just one of a number of new initiatives in the expansion and development of the aviation sector in Malta. Both the Malta International Airport and the Malta Development Corporation are looking at ways how to tap further this potential and how to expand upon existing activity.
I know that the Directors and Management at the Malta International Airport are fully aware of the potential for the generation of additional activity in the aircraft servicing sector, primarily through the attraction of established operators to locate new facilities within Maltas airport precinct. This has been clearly recognised as an opportunity to develop new business and was promoted as an additional asset in the privatisation of Malta International Airport.
In addition, the further development of the aircraft servicing sector is likely to generate other complementary activities, that would not need to be located at or near the airport. Such activities include precision tool making, light metal fabrication, electrical and electronic repairs and many other activities that one would expect to develop and cluster around a successful aviation sector.
All of this needs to be seen within an even wider vision of an aviation sector which offers considerable scope for development along various other lines of activity, such as air-cargo transhipment and other initiatives linked to the hubbing concept. One must therefore start off with the presumption that the aviation sector has all the potential and all the ramifications to be developed on par with and to the same extent as the maritime sector. In fact, one of the most potentially interesting achievements would be the successful exploitation of linkages between the two, such as the development of the fly-cruise concept with Malta at the centre of this node of activity within the Mediterranean.
This exciting future beckons. It is up to us to prepare effectively for this prospect, and to show the necessary initiative and take the necessary action to exploit these opportunities to the full.
What is required from us is a mix of vision and action. The vision to go beyond the present and to see the opportunities in change. The action to build upon and exploit our strengths.
These strengths lie largely in the quality of our work force. This has again been amply manifest in the establishment of Lufthansa Technik Malta.
Finally, I wish to thank the management and staff of Lufthansa Technik Malta, ably led by their Maltese Chief Executive Officer Louis Giordimaina, for their dedication and hard work in setting up the company in such a short period of time and commencing operations as scheduled.