The government will ‘in the coming weeks’ announce its plans for the development of a small airport in Gozo and launch a public consultation about it, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri said on Thursday.

Replying to a parliamentary question, he said an air service in Gozo would be a natural development for improved connectivity following the introduction of a fourth ferry, the introduction of the fast ferry services and the laying of a new fibre-optic cable between Malta and Gozo.

Technical experts over the past months had worked on the government’s plans for a small airport at the former helipad facility near Xewkija. Their brief was not to take up more land than had already been committed and to plan an airport that could take fixed-wing aircraft able to carry between seven and 11 passengers with the least environmental impact.

Once the public consultation was over, the government would discuss the outcome, take the necessary decisions and seek a development permit from the Planning Authority, the minister said. 

Last November, Camilleri said interest had already been expressed by potential flight operators, and there was also the possibility that such a facility could be used by schools of flying and firms involved in the production and testing of drones.

The last time an air service operated Malta and Gozo was a decade ago, when a seaplane flew services between Grand Harbour and MÄ¡arr.

A helicopter link used to be provided by an Air Malta subsidiary, Malta Air Charter, between 1990 and 2004, carrying an average 50,000 passengers a year. Despite Air Malta having forked out about €345,000 in subsidies a year, the service was stopped as it was not making money.

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