Malta International Airport

Malta International Airport—IATA code MLA—is the only airport in the country of Malta. It is located on Malta Island in the little village of Luqa, and the Maltese still call the facility Luqa Airport even though its name was changed in 1992 after a complete renovation. It is located about three miles from the capital city of Valletta. Air Malta is the country's national airline, and is based at this facility.

Air Malta is a large airline, with scheduled services to as many as three dozen countries in Europe and North Africa. Its fleet of Airbus aircraft is quite new, and it boasts that it loses the smallest amount of passenger baggage of any European airline. Malta International Airport is also the destination for several other European airlines, although some of those fly the route only during the peak summer season. However, it is possible to fly to Malta from most of the major European capitals at virtually any time of year. The primary gateways are London, Rome, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, Milan, and Munich.

There are other airlines in the country, but you will only find one at Malta International Airport because the landing strip is the Mediterranean Sea. Other airlines operate seaplane sightseeing tours out of Valleta's Grand Harbour with daily scheduled service between Valletta and Mgarr Harbour on Gozo Island (this scheduled service does not operate for three weeks over the Christmas and New Year's holidays) and charter flights into other harbors on the islands. Seaplanes generally accommodate about fourteen passengers and have custom designed "bubble" windows that make the aircraft excellent sightseeing vehicles. These flights have become very popular for shore excursions for passengers on the large liners doing Mediterranean cruises because it allows them enough time to visit the most important of the seven megalithic temples (Ggantija) that comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Air Malta also can book passengers on these flights if their final destination is Gozo. The flight only takes about fifteen minutes, whereas sailing excursions can take a few hours.

Other airlines include helicopter companies that operate daily service between MLA and the Xewkija Airport on Gozo, which is less than three miles from the Ggantija Temples. Helicopter companies also operate sightseeing excursions on both of the larger islands as well as on Comino Island to see its famed Blue Lagoon. Seeing some of the magnificent scenic beauty of the islands from the air is a breathtaking experience, and the sightseeing excursions take in some of the best. Depending on the tour you choose, you can fly along the rugged Dingli Cliffs on the western coast of Malta Island, over the beautiful cathedrals of Mdina and Mosta, and along some of the gently curving bays and pristine sandy beaches on the coast.

You have a choice of a number of possibilities of Malta airport transfers from the main Malta airport that are very convenient and relatively simple. Public bus transportation is very reliable, and the historic buses themselves are tourist attractions. Buses make a full circuit between MLA and Valletta every 25 to 30 minutes, stopping en route at Floriana, Marsa, Paola, Tarxien (site of one of the megalithic temples), Ghazaq, and Gudja. There is also 24-hour taxi service, and it is possible to purchase a prepaid ticket based on your destination at the ticket booth in the airport's arrivals hall. Many of the luxury hotels and better resorts will provide complimentary transportation, but there is an official airport/hotel shuttle that you can book in advance to take to you one of scores of hotels even if your destination is the humble Marsaxlokk Youth Hostel. There are also a number of car rental companies, including several international chains.

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