Medavia overcomes the upheaval in Libya and continues to succeed even after 40 years
The aviation company Medavia which has been based in Malta for more than 40 years, and which was originally set up to cater for the Libyan market, has managed to diversify its operations in a way which has allowed it to overcome the various upheavals in Libya due to political instability. These upheavals began long before the current crisis when Libya and Medavia had to face United Nations sanctions against Libya.
The company started off with a small hanger but expanded to offer a variety of services connected to the aviation industry. Medavia is now commemorating its 40th anniversary during which it had many ups and downs due to the instability in Libya. The company is proud to say that even though it went through one crisis after another, it has never laid off any of its employees, and today, with the amount of work it has, it is struggling to find new workers.
The head of Human Resources at Medavia, Ivan Refalo, said that the largest growth which the company has seen has been in the maintenance of certain types of planes, a sector which has almost tripled over the last two years. He explained that this growth was a result of the company obtaining approval to carry out repairs on ten different types of planes. He said, however, that the company cannot grow further because there is a shortage of workers with the necessary skills and this has tied their hands.
Ivan Refalo said, “in order to employ a person from a third world country, from outside Europe, the process is very long. Although we need to admit that many advances have been made and we have found help, the process is still too long and we cannot really depend on it that much. In fact, today we have to recognise that for the immediate future, within the next one and a half years, we need to consolidate what we have and not keep seeking approval for other planes.”
Medavia employs 220 people from 22 different countries, 80 of whom are Maltese. Mr Refalo said that many of them are occupying high positions within the company, including technicians who have climbed up the career ladder after starting off as apprentices.
Mr Refalo said that although over the last two weeks, the flights towards Tripoli were all suspended because of the fighting which has broken out, up until recently it was the only company which continued to offer flights between Europe and Libya. He said that in the first three months of this year, it operated an average of 15 flights per week.
Mr Refalo said along with its various services, Medavia recently added another service, which should open up new opportunities for the company.
“Medavia is the only company which has design approval within the terms of EASA, known as part 21 – to modify a design. This not only involves changing the livery but also changing the seating configuration – from an airplane which seats 50 to one which seats 30, with more comfort.”
Mr Refalo said that discussions are underway for further collaboration with Air Malta. He said that the company has a presence in various countries, including Libya, Ghana, Southern Sudan, and Tunisia and said that it is expecting to expand similar services to African and Russian countries.