TM says no-fly zone over LNG tanker will not af­fect air­craft

● Author­ity ‘putting up fly­ing re­stric­tions over crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture’

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Neil Camil­leri

Trans­port Malta in­sisted yes­ter­day that a no-fly zone over De­li­mara, if im­ple­mented, would not af­fect air­craft move­ments in the area.

This news­pa­per re­vealed yes­ter­day how TM’s Civil Avi­a­tion Direc­torate is in­form­ing pi­lots about its in­ten­tion to im­pose a 3 kilo­me­tre wide and 2,000-foot high no-fly zone over the LNG tanker and gas-fired power sta­tion to “pro­tect them from air­borne risks.”

The Malta In­de­pen­dent pub­lished ex­cerpts of two emails sent to pi­lots in­form­ing them about the plans in­stead of let­ting them find out later through of­fi­cial chan­nels. The cor­re­spon­dence in­cluded a map show­ing how the en­tire De­li­mara penin­sula will be off-lim­its for air­craft.

The emails stated that the CAD had been in­structed and tasked to es­tab­lish “in the short­est time pos­si­ble” Malta’s first Pro­hib­ited Area sur­round­ing the cen­tral ar­eas of the LNG Tanker/De­li­mara Power Sta­tion. “This area needs to be pub­lished in the short­est time pos­si­ble,” one of the emails says.

The pi­lots and fly­ing schools were urged to send their feed­back on “whether the in­clu­sion of such an area will have any gross op­er­a­tional is­sues that may af­fect your day to day oper­a­tions.”

An avi­a­tion in­dus­try source claimed that the move will af­fect air­craft - mainly small planes – as the De­li­mara area is widely used for ma­noeu­vring be­fore land­ing.

But in a state­ment sent to this news­pa­per Trans­port Malta said “the no-fly zone, if im­ple­mented, will not af­fect gen­eral avi­a­tion or com­mer­cial air traf­fic.”

Trans­port Malta said it has started the process to put into ef­fect fly­ing re­stric­tions over crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture. “Such re­stric­tions are very com­mon in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try and the rise in pop­u­lar­ity of drones aug­mented the need for such.”

“Trans­port Malta drew up a plan for a re­stricted area over the Power Sta­tion. The author­ity asked Malta Air Traf­fic Ser­vices and op­er­a­tors of light air­craft for their feed­back which is cur­rently be­ing re­viewed.”

In the mean­time ques­tions sent to TM re­mained unan­swered by the time of go­ing to print. The Malta In­de­pen­dent asked TM how the no-fly zone would be en­forced and what would hap­pen should an air­craft fly over it. TMI also asked why a no-fly zone was be­ing set up when the risk as­sess­ment study com­mis­sioned by the own­ers of the gas power sta­tion said that the risk of an air­craft crash­ing into the plant or the tanker was re­mote.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.