The Malta International Air Show
Held annually each September at the Malta International Airport (ex: RAF Luqa) , the Malta International Air Show, one of Malta's largest outdoor events, has gained the well-earned reputation as one of Malta's top outdoor family events.
The Malta International Airshow is the result of strong lobbying from the Malta Aviation Society for many years until approval was given to hold the first display in September of 1993. Held over the magnificent Marsamxetto Harbour with its surrounding bastions, the public was entertained to a spectacular aerial display culminating with the Patrouille de France giving their first display in Maltese skies. Another show stopper was the German Air Force 'Luftwaffe' F-4 Phantom with its various low passes over the water.
Nineteen years have elapsed since the very first proper airshow held in Malta and the event has grown both in numbers as well as quality. Over the years, the Malta International Airshow has attracted many interesting aircraft including Israeli F-15s and F-16s, Czech L-39, Italian F-104s and Do-228, Ex-Israeli A-4 Skyhawks, US Navy F-14, EA-6B, S-3s, F-18s, Tornados, B-52, B-1B, Spitfire and Hurricane plus most of the European national display teams including the Red Arrows, Patrouille de France, Frecce Tricolori, the Spanish team Patruila Aguoila, Swiss PC-7 Team, Breitling Jet Team, and many other types of aircraft from all over the world.
Did you know?
- A team of around 200 volunteers - ranging from parking and ticketing personnel to ramp operators and overall airshow operations - provide the backbone of the Air Show
- More than 600 packed meals are produced for the volunteer staff, air and ground crew during the Airshow
- More than two kilometers of fencing and barriers have to be erected and 10kms of rope & stake put up
- Hailed by The Times of Malta as the largest outdoor event on the island.
- All local media extensively covers the event and is also routinely featured in foreign magazines.
- The Airshow is the most photographed event in Malta
The Malta Aviation Society
Formed in 1971 by a small group of aviation-interested persons by the side of the fence of what was then RAF Luqa one Saturday afternoon, the group called itself the Malta Aircraft Enthusiasts. At first this small group of aircraft buffs held meetings at the private homes of the various members until a more routine schedule of fortnightly meetings started being held in Valletta. Such meetings included visits by various RAF pilots who happened to be on exercises in Malta from time to time, slide shows and various aviation-photography competitions. The swelling number of members soon required a change of venue for such meetings and for many years members met at a building within the playing field in Valletta's suburb.
As the MAE gained momentum, a yearly national event in the shape of an exhibition, was held and this attracted a good number of visitors which in turn continued to increase the membership. Due to a law that came in force in the 70's and which prohibited the use of the word Malta, MAE was obliged to change its name to the Association of Aircraft Enthusiasts until a further legal change allowed the word to be used again. This time AAE switched to its present name of the Malta Aviation Society, now a fully-recognized NGO.
MAS holds fortnightly meetings at its present rented-out quarters in Safi, less than 1 km from the airport and meetings include, much as they did in its infancy years, many presentations by people in the aviation industry as well as digital photography shows and various discussions. For the last nineteen years the Malta Aviation Society has been organising the Malta International Airshow that attracts thousands of visitors from Malta and further afield and has come to be considered as one of the most-sought-after outdoor event on the national calendar. From the very first Malta airshow in 1993, the event has consistently been held during the last full weekend of September and has attracted participants from over 35 nations.
The Malta Aviation Society now enjoys an average membership of over 200 members from all ages and has successfully provided the nation with a cadre of people who have made their hobby develop into full-time careers including air-traffic controllers, pilots, military personnel etc. Indeed, the aim of MAS has always been "To Foster Interest in Aviation" and the members' meetings and the airshow go a long way in fostering such interest.
Affectionately known by its members as "The Club", the Malta Aviation Society now has 40 years of tradition in aviation matters, is presently the main organisation that speaks aviation and confidently looks into the future as being the meeting point for all things aviation.
Visit the Malta Aviation Society's website at http://www.mas.org.mt/