In support of a Gozo Airlink – Roy S. Perry

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Gozo Airstrip SimulationI refer to the letter on March 8th from John A Hall.

It has been said that the only persons seeking a return of the Gozo Airlink are Ex-Pats who live here part of the time. As a long-term resident of Gozo and the prime-mover among those who are lobbying for a safe, secure and comfortable air link I would say that this is probably true. The reason is that we tend to have a need to travel abroad more frequently. My friends in Gozo Business and Tourism have just as much a need for a link which will take them more quickly to Malta International Airport so they can travel on to meetings abroad without wasting 2-3 hours getting to the airport check-in.

One of the things I most admire about Gozitans is their practice of studying all aspects of a task very carefully before taking action. This, to some, appears to be reticent and not showing sufficient incentive. The end result, in most cases, is that a well thought-out plan has been of benefit to the island and all its inhabitants.

So it is with plans to provide an airstrip. As an aviation specialist I have spent many months carrying out research and consultations into the best way of providing a service without damaging the infrastructure or environment. You may ask ‘what’s in it for me’ – the answer is that I love Gozo and do not want the island’s community suffer at the hands of the economic downturn and political blind eyes on the mainland. I do not represent any business and have nothing financially to gain.

I agree with Mr Hall that it is very surprising that a link no longer exists. I must also say that any plan to try and operate small passenger aircraft from the minimum possible runway length (450 m) is doomed to failure. Much better to use a 700 metre strip to make operations less noisy, more economic and practical.

Roy S. Perry

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    6 Responses

    1. Swimmer says:

      A lot has been written about this idea. I am totally against it because here in Gozo a good Helicopter service will be enough to cater for all our needs.

      Mr Perry seems very enthusiastic about this air strip. Does he know that Joseph Muscat said that Malta could get EU funding to subsidize the services of the Helicopter?

      To me this will be the best solution thus avoiding destroying more fertile land, as that area is well known to be very fertile land.

      • Charles v Vella says:

        @Swimmer……………I live in Canada so I really don’t have any right to comment. But I do agree with you, the idea of destroying fertile land for a landing strip and to make some tourist happy is the biggest mistake. Until there are other ways to get the tourist from point A to point B an airfield makes no sense. Leave nature alone. I’ve lived in Canada since 1962 and whenever I visit Malta/Gozo I notice how the landscape is changing into high concrete structures that blocks the natural beauty views of the Islands. But modern times call these changes “progress”. For many years the same thing has been happening here. Shame.

    2. James A. Tyrrell says:

      I agree with you here swimmer as I have said many times before. I have no doubt that Mr. Perry does indeed love Gozo but I just don’t think he is thinking with the best interests of the island and its people at heart.

      He talks of building a 700-metre runway as if it means nothing. Ron this is an island approximately 9 miles by 4 miles and you are talking about carving almost half a mile out of it just to please the few people who want such a service.

      As swimmer says the correct service for a small island like Gozo is a helicopter service like we had in the past. And as Joseph Muscat said Malta could get EU funding to subsidise the services of the Helicopter so that makes it an even better idea.

      Very few people would use a fixed wing service between the islands. I certainly wouldn’t on a matter of principle and would write on a regular basis urging others to refrain from using it also. The island has been spoiled enough by money grabbing developers, if the term Eco Gozo means anything then a good place to start is by saying no to noisy aircraft taking off and landing all day.

    3. However says:

      As an expat on Gozo (not retired and working globally), I would love an airlink with Catania, for example. I also used the old helicopter service frequently. I am not against a subsidised helicopter service, and probably I would use it as well.

      However I am not sure that an airstrip does good to the island as a whole. 400m or 700 m strip would be used just for general aviation, because I wonder if any scheduled flight from anywhere is commercially viable, when such a reasonable alternative with MLA + ferry exists? Then, in the light of the strong winds, does one not need at least two runways in separate directions?

      I make do with the existing transport quite well, and, if I can with my travel requirements, certainly others can, too.

    4. Lesley Kreupl says:

      What is so special about ex-pats and Gozo businessmen that they have to be ‘air-lifted’ to the airport? Most travellers in other parts of the world take a couple of hours or more to get to an international airport. Check-in time for international flights has increased considerably due to tightened security so an hour here or there doesn’t make much difference. Modern communication systems ensure that this time need not be wasted.

      The ex-pats that live here are mostly retired and therefore with a bit of pre-planning can absorb an extra hour in their timetables. If one really feels that the lack of an airport is an inconvenience then Gozo is the wrong island to settle on.

      As a specialist Mr. Perry should know that if the ferries are not running, one can be almost sure that nothing small will be flying either!

      For further details, refer to my letter in The Times on February 19, 2009.

    5. Sonia Sult says:

      I agree with Roy Perry. I want a more independent Gozo. An air strip and a good harbour are a need to Gozo. Jersey in the Channel Islands is as small as Gozo, and it has an airport, not an air strip.

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