TM says no-fly zone over LNG tanker will not affect aircraft
● Authority ‘putting up flying restrictions over critical infrastructure’
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.