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The Gozo Regional Airport site plan shows the extension of the runway into the disturbed areas outside the heliport

By February 8, 2022February 21st, 2022Site plan

A site plan of the area of ​​Gozo where the government is proposing a regional airport shows that the airstrip will extend beyond the perimeter of the existing heliport.

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri tabled the site plan in parliament on Tuesday after giving a long history of past attempts to establish an air link between the islands.

He was responding to a question from Opposition MP Chris Said.

Camilleri said the current heliport has not been used since 2008, except for emergency hospital airlifts. The heliport is made up of two heliports with a diameter of 22m connected by a 174m runway.

Camilleri said the runway will need to be extended to accommodate fixed-wing aircraft and work is proposed on an area where inert waste has been dumped in the past.

He said technical experts hired to prepare plans for a regional airport were asked not to use additional agricultural land; reduce the environmental impact of the airport; and ensure it can accommodate aircraft that can carry between nine and 11 passengers.

Camilleri has not released the actual designs for the proposed airport, but insisted they will be released in “the coming weeks” by the Gozo Regional Development Authority.

He said a public consultation exercise will gather feedback on the proposal, after which the government will decide what changes to make or whether the project will go ahead.

The minister said the area on the outskirts of Xewkija was first used as an airstrip in 1943 as part of Operation Husky, which was the Allied invasion of Sicily. He said a number of fields in the area have been flattened to make way for a track.

Camilleri added that just after the 2013 elections, plans were underway to clear the area outside the heliport boundaries of debris in order to build a 900m grass airstrip. The plans were later scrapped.

Helicopter services that provided an air link between the islands had to cease as operations were not financially viable.

Camilleri said a runway to accommodate fixed-wing aircraft would be more financially viable and of economic benefit to Gozo.