Ah, the airport. Remember when travel was a thing we could do?
State officials have always shot down questions about the airport and when we can breathe life back into its now empty halls. “It will be the last thing to open” is the vague reply we got when we tried to prod.
In the meantime, let’s make sure we never take the airport for granted again. Photographer Albert Camillieri is helping us do just that: capturing dancers in bright shots gracing the empty space of MIA’s departure halls.
Dancers Kimberly Lowell and Nicole Shembri explore the empty airport through movement and the results are equal parts beautiful and nostalgia-inducing.
The empty departure hall
Is it weird that we miss queuing here?
Soon we’ll all be jumping to the departure gates
Or maybe take the stairs
Remember what planes look like?
Social distancing, but make it dance
Maybe we can sneak on as luggage cargo if they don’t reopen soon
Do you remember rushing to gates?
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
These images form part of Żifna, an artistic project of movement and dance using the empty streets caused by the pandemic as a backdrop. The project started in Valletta then Gnejna and now the shoot at the Malta International Airport makes up the third edition of the series.
“It’s was the perfect time to do that since the airport is practically closed so most of its space can be used for shooting photos. We were in touch with the Airport and they really seemed to have loved the idea of us going there and doing our third Żifna there,” Camillieri said.
“We all missed travelling so going around the airport felt good in its own way. It was such a fascinating experience going in and out of places usually swamped with people from all over the world.”
So what’s the deal with the airport?
As the weeks go by and restriction measures are lifted, pressure is increasing and the airport question is on everyone’s lips. It may have divided the nation, with some against its reopening all together until a vaccine is found (dream on) and those whose livelihoods depend on it (i.e. the entire tourism sector) who need answers and need them now.
Despite this, the conversation is developing. Times of Malta reported that sources are looking to reopen the big A as of mid-July, which obviously caused a stir on social media. PN spokesperson Robert Arrigo responded to this rumour, saying it was way too late a date for reopening and that the local tourism sector wouldn’t last long should this be true.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia has hinted at reopening date that’s sooner: June 15. This is the date in which Malta’s travel ban officially expires. Talking on TVM’s Xtra on Thursday she said this was always the target date agreed with stakeholders, but ultimately it will be up to health officials to give the go-ahead to #makeflyingathingagain
Whether you want it open, closed, will travel, refuse to till a vaccine is on the table, Farrugia Portelli and the Prime Minister are set to announce an official date in the coming days.
Until then, you can see the whole photography project of Żifna, which was in collaboration with Malta International Airport, by checking out Camillieri’s page here.