The Malta Airport Foundation is part of the company’s strategic decision to use its corporate responsibility funds to contribute more directly to the tourism industry by investing in Malta’s heritage and environment. This is a non-profit organisation which shall implement and manage all of our external CR investments. The Malta Airport Foundation, having satisfied the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations that it qualifies in terms of Article 3 of the Voluntary Organisations Act (2007), was entered in the Register of Voluntary Organisations on the 31 January 2015. The foundation will be independent of the airport and managed by a Board of Administrators: Frederick Mifsud Bonnici has been appointed Chairman - an auditor by profession and a man of integrity who brings unparalleled experience from the business world, Simone Mizzi brings in depth knowledge of Malta’s history and culture, and has been instrumental in protecting our Island’s heritage for over 30 years, and Frank Salt is a successful entrepreneur who set up one of Malta’s first Real Estate Agencies.

Malta Airport Foundation’s First Project

The Restoration of Torri Xutu at Wied iz-Zurrieq: In collaboration with Din L-Art Helwa, the Foundation’s first project will incorporate the restoration and eventual marketing of the Wied Iz-Zurrieq watch tower. The tower is a 17th Century costal watch tower dating back to the Knights of St. John and it is the last tower to be built during the reign of Grand Master Jean Paul Lascaris de Castellar. It is located in a prime area of high landscape, geological and scientific value, rich in both marine and terrestrial bio-diversity, with close proximity to the Neolithic temples of Hagar Qim & Mnajdra, Blue Grotto and the quaint fishing village known as Wied Iz-Zurrieq. Its rehabilitation will enhance the tourism product of the South West of Malta, being the airport’s neighbourhood, and yet another fortification will be saved as a cultural asset for the Maltese islands. The exterior facades of the tower display a high level of erosion. If left untreated, progressive structural damage will occur, affecting the overall structural integrity of the facades. The Malta Airport Foundation will be the sole sponsor of the project in collaboration with Din L-Art Helwa and will invest €130,000 in this project. The restoration and conversation work will take circa two years, and is scheduled to be re-opened to the public by 2017.

 

History of Torri Xutu

The architectural importance of this tower is that it was a prototype for watch towers subsequently built by Grand Master de Redin (Grand Master Lascaris' successor) in that it was structurally stronger compared to the flimsy Lascaris towers (excluding the Red Tower) built before it. In fact, the ceilings of this tower are vaulted as opposed to wooden beams and capable of supporting a mounting cannon. The roof, which is flat, has a parapet with two embrasures for two guns. The Tower is often referred to as Xutu Tower (coming from the name 'Guardia Xutu'). It is squarish in shape and consists of two floors plus a roof. This look-out post linked up with look-out posts in the South East and North West and played an important role in the costal defences of Malta throughout the centuries. During the second world war the tower was almost certainly used as a Coast Observation Post and was manned by the Costal Police. In recent times, and until 2002, the tower was used as a Police Station.

 

Future Plans

When the project is completed, the Tower will become a visitor centre. These plans will mean tourists and locals will be able to enjoy:

· the scenic viewpoint from the roof top of the surrounding cliffs and sea (including Filfla)

· souvenirs and refreshments from the retail outlet

· view exhibitions of the natural, geological and historical features of the Tower and its surroundings

For more information about the Foundation and its projects, please visit https://www.maltairport.com/corporate/corporate-responsibility/foundation/

© Nicola Said 2015-2019