Registering an Aircraft in Malta

Registering an Aircraft in Malta

The Aircraft Registration Malta Act, 2010 (the “Act”) came into force on 1st October 2010 and its main aim is to regulate the registration of aircraft, the registration and enforcement of aircraft mortgages and the implementation of the Cape Town Convention and the aircraft protocol and its interface with Maltese law.

Main Advantages of Registering your Aircraft in Malta

Some of the main advantages of registering aircraft in the Maltese jurisdiction are:

  • An attractive corporate tax system;
  • Recognition of fractional ownership of aircraft so that title may be divided between co-owners in specified fractions or percentages which may each be financed by a different creditor taking security over the particular fractional interest for which finance has been provided;
  • Broad registration possibilities for aircraft not used in commercial air transport;
  • Robust legislative framework and extensive network of double taxation treaties;
  • Transparency of rights and interests in aircraft;
  • Encouragement of the development of finance and operating leases of aircraft and provides clear rules on the tax treatment of the finance charge, available tax deductions to finance lessors and capital allowances for lessees;
  • No withholding tax on lease payments where the lessor is not a tax resident of Malta;
  • The private use of an aircraft by an individual who is not resident in Malta and is an employee/officer of an employer/company/partnership whose business activities include the ownership/leasing/operation of aircraft used for international transport does not constitute a taxable fringe benefit;
  • Competitive minimum depreciation periods for aircraft;
  • Implements the provisions of the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its Aircraft Protocol thereby granting secured lenders a higher degree of protection and more effective remedies whilst allowing lower borrowing costs;
  • Possibility of registering aircraft under construction once uniquely identifiable with airworthiness surveys suspended until the completion of the aircraft;
  • Possibility of recording various details pertaining to the aircraft, its ownership or any other relevant interest;
  • Local availability of a wide range of airline services (aircraft and engine maintenance, repair and overhaul, aircraft management, aircraft maintenance training and other ancillary support services); and
  • High standards of safety and security.

Who is Qualified to Register an Aircraft in Malta?

The qualifying registrants vary depending on whether the aircraft is used in commercial air services or for private purposes.

Commercial Aircraft

  • The Government of Malta;
  • A citizen of Malta or a citizen of a Member State of the EU or of an EEA State, or Switzerland, having a place of residence or business in Malta, the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland, including a person sharing in the ownership of such aircraft by virtue of the community of acquests subsisting between such person and a citizen as described above in whose name the aircraft is registered;
  • An undertaking formed and existing in accordance with the laws of Malta, of a Member State of the EU, of an EEA State, or of Switzerland and having its registered office, central administration and principal place of business within Malta, or the EU, or the EEA, or Switzerland, whereof not less than 50% of the undertaking is owned and effectively controlled by the Government of Malta, or by any Member State of the EU or by persons referred to above, whether directly or indirectly through one or more intermediate undertakings.

All operators of aircraft engaged in commercial air transport require an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and an Operating Licence. The Civil Aviation Directorate at the Authority for Transport in Malta has the power to certify operators of aircraft in accordance with Annex III to Regulation (EC) 3922/1991, as amended (EU-OPS 1).

Private Aircraft

Any natural person who is a citizen of, or undertaking established in, a member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and any other country approved by the Minister by notice for the purposes of the Act (termed “International Registrant” in the Act), may register a private aircraft on the Maltese register, provided it:

  • has legal capacity to own/operate and aircraft in terms of law;
  • appoints a local resident agent to represent the owner in Malta for matters concerning the registration of the aircraft;
  • complies with applicable regulations/guidelines.

Who is Eligible to Register an Aircraft?

Qualifying registrants may register aircraft in Malta in any one of the following capacities:

  • An owner operating an aircraft;
  • An owner of an aircraft under construction or temporarily not being operated or managed;
  • An operator of an aircraft under a temporary title;
  • A buyer of an aircraft under a conditional sale or title reservation agreement authorised to operate the aircraft;
  • trustee for the benefit of beneficiaries.

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