To whom it may concern,
As student pilots from various local flight schools, we are writing to bring to your attention the challenges we are currently facing due to the recent restrictions imposed on our professional pilot training.
We believe that effective communication and collaboration between relevant authorities and the aviation training community are crucial for addressing these pressing issues which are causing a detrimental impact.
Our concerns stem from two instances of restrictions, the first of which occurred in January. The Air Traffic Controllers Association directed its personnel to cease intersection take-offs and disallow touch-and-go exercises for code A aircraft. This forced us to backtrack the full length of a 3.5-kilometer runway, causing substantial delays and financial burdens due to the extra amount of block time incurred by the students, not to mention the environmental impact of prolonged engine run times.
Moreover, the denial of touch-and-go training sessions, a vital component of our flight training, hindered our ability to learn various phases of flight, from take-off to landing. Students were left with the option to either halt their flight training during the directive period or incur additional costs by flying to Comiso Airport in Sicily.
Now, we find ourselves facing another emergency as we are banned from completing our flight training locally. The recent closure of the secondary runway 23/05 at Malta International Airport for maintenance has led to further restrictions, limiting our flying days to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday.
These restrictions have significant repercussions on us as students which are time bared due to European Aviation Safety Association (EASA) regulations. The need to travel to Sicily for training exercises not only increases flight time but also incurs additional expenses such as ground handling expenses, impacting our financial situation by thousands of euros. The weather conditions during this time of the year further complicate matters, leading to potential cancellations within the 3 days of operations we’re authorized to operate in.
As students who have invested time and financial resources, we seek clarification on how these restrictions will be addressed. We question who will compensate us for the:
- extra block time
- extra flight time
- extra handling charges
- extra landing charges
While we acknowledge the necessity of maintenance and improvements for airport safety, we urge the relevant authorities, including the Minister for Transport, Minister for Education, Malta Air Traffic Services, Malta International Airport, and other entities, to consider the impact on students and the training industry. Effective communication and collaboration are essential to finding solutions that balance safety standards with the needs of the aviation training community.
We appreciate the support provided by our schools in navigating these challenges and look forward to working collaboratively towards a resolution that preserves the integrity of aviation training and upholds safety standards.
Your prompt attention to this matter is highly solicited, and we remain available for further discussions.