Malta register attracts 35 additional aircraft
Repute ‘unaffected’ by Canary Islands incident
Malta’s register has attracted 35 additional aircraft since the new legal and regulatory framework was launched in January 2011, bringing the total to 111, the Transport Ministry has told The Times Business.
Transport Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate also issued seven air operator certificates and air operating licences since January 2011, a significant improvement on the eight AOCs issued before 2011.
“We have mixed requests coming in,” the ministry replied when asked about trends. “The majority request an Air Operator Certificate and are therefore commercial. Other than that, we are now seeing larger business jet companies showing great interest, some of which have already obtained an AOC.”
Air operator certificates require operators to establish a physical presence in Malta, involving much higher added value than the register alone, and authorities say that their expectations “have more than been met”.
Meanwhile, the ministry said local authorities did not need to take any measures to shield the repute of Malta’s register following a recent incident involving a Maltese-registered Bombardier in the Canary Islands, allegedly found to be carrying a ton of cocaine. The plane had previously flown from Venezuela to Miami and then the Canary Islands. A Colombian pilot and two Germans were reportedly arrested. Malta is the operating company’s principal place of business.
“So far the Maltese authorities did not need to take any particular steps with respect to the repute of the register since, at this stage, it appears that this is not a case of an operator who has voluntarily violated any aviation regulations,” the ministry said. “The Civil Aviation Directorate at Transport Malta is following this case closely with the aircraft’s owners. It would be premature to comment further at this stage in such a delicate situation.”
Transport Malta regularly participates in international conferences and events like the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, and is to be represented at Middle East Business Aviation later this year. It also organises niche events such as that held last year in Paris in conjunction with the Financial Times (Malta). Authorities work closely with local intermediaries and service providers, themselves heavily involved in marketing Malta as an aviation jurisdiction.