Tourists and locals heading to the airport by bus had to drag their luggage through Luqa Junction roadworks on Tuesday afternoon, after buses were left stranded or forced to take alternative routes due to unannounced roadworks.
A Malta Public Transport spokesperson confirmed that routes 71, 72, 73, X3, X4, 218, 117, X1, X2 and 135 could not access Malta International Airport late on Tuesday afternoon because of “unplanned road works”.
As a result, six buses were stuck on Triq Il-Kunsill tal-Ewropa and several others were diverted away from the area, the spokesperson said.
Bus drivers called the MPT control room for assistance and the company sent officials on-site to help them move buses through concrete bollards that partly blocked the road, the spokesperson said.
Problems began at around 3.30pm and were not resolved until around 7.30pm in the evening. Bus services to and from the airport were operating normally on Tuesday evening.
But that was too late for several travellers who had flights to catch, and who were forced to undertake the last leg of their trip on foot, through dust and rubble.
Among those to flag the situation was independent electoral candidate Arnold Cassola, who was contacted by a group of tourists caught in the predicament.
Cassola likened the situation to the fictional stone age family The Flintstones.
MPT: 'Situation unacceptable'
An MPT spokesperson told Times of Malta that the company was not informed of the roadworks. MPT runs Malta's public bus service.
The company offered its apologies to passengers and said that the situation is “unacceptable”.
“We fully agree that this is unacceptable, and it was the result of factors beyond our control. We are discussing with the authorities to ensure that it does not happen again,” the spokesperson said.
While infrastructural works at the airport roundabout were completed last week, works at the Luqa junction, a stone’s throw from the airport, are only 70 per cent complete.
The €11 million Luqa project began in September and will create five lanes at what is known as the Dinitrol roundabout.
The project includes a one-lane tunnel and a one-lane flyover.
The main road at the Luqa intersection, further up, will be completed by the end of June and work on the tunnel is expected to be completed by the end of summer.
Questions have been sent to Infrastructure Malta, who are responsible for the roadworks.
It is not the first time that roadworks have impacted people using Malta International Airport.
Last year the airport's CEO, Alan Borg, said they were having a negative impact on tourism.
"Tourists’ first and last impression of the Maltese islands is currently a very chaotic one due to roadworks in the vicinity of MIA," he said.