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Aircraft Registration

Eligibility for Aircraft Registration

An aircraft may be registered by:

1. An owner of the aircraft who operates the said aircraft;

2. An owner of the aircraft under construction or temporarily not being operated
or managed;

3. An operator of an aircraft under temporary title who satisfies the conditions
prescribed by law;

4. A buyer of an aircraft under a conditional sale or title reservation agreement which satisfies the conditions which may be prescribed and who is authorised
to operate the aircraft;

Persons eligible to register an aircraft in Malta include:

  1. Citizens of Malta or of a Member State of the EU, or an EEA State, or Switzerland, having a place of residence or business with 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

  2. An undertaking formed and existing in accordance with the laws of Malta, a Member State of the EU, or an EEA State or Switzerland, and having its registered office, central administration and principal place of business within Malta, or the EU, EEA, 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 any persons referred to above, whether directly or indirectly through one or more intermediate undertakings.

  3. A natural person who is a citizen of or an undertaking established in a member country of the OECD provided:

    a. It has legal capacity to own/operate an aircraft in terms of the law;
    b. Appoints a local resident agent to represent the owner in Malta for matters
    concerning the registration of the aircraft;
    c. Complies with the applicable regulations/guidelines.

Procedure for Registration

For the purposes of Maltese law, an owner who operates in the Malta aircraft register or an aircraft under construction or temporarily not being operated or managed, may register. The possibility of registration of an aircraft also vests with the operator of an aircraft under a temporary title, a buyer of an aircraft under a conditional sale or title reservation agreement. The registration of an aircraft in the Malta register is simple and straightforward. The documentation needed for the registration of an aircraft includes:

a. an application for aircraft registration;
b. de-registration from the previous register, if previously registered;
c. a bill of sale or other proof of ownership;
d. proof of marking

The aircraft owner or operator will have to apply for an Airworthiness Certificate which will grant the aircraft the license to fly.

In respect of a private aircraft this may be registered by providing the aircraft’s technical specifications and operating manuals. A maintenance program ensuring continuous airworthiness with an approved CAMO, is normally also asked for as the Malta register is always keen to ensure safety and security.

Commercial Aircraft

A commercial aircraft operates for the purpose of the transport of passengers or cargo for hire or reward. Commercial aviation is regulated under the EU-OPS which was revised in April 2012. This kind of aircraft is subject to a number of licenses or certificates which ensure the proper maintenance and the operator’s management of the aircraft in order for safety to be guaranteed.

Malta is a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and a contracting State of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Safety and quality are at the forefront for Transport Malta Civil Aviation Directorate, and Malta operates under a strict safety regulation regime and its safety record in aviation is recognised for its excellence. Malta has in practice sought to enforce the principle that in aviation everything must be certified, and that being safe is not sufficient for being considered airworthy. This has attracted some quality investors in the aircraft maintenance sector – providing the necessary assurance to potential investors that Malta is capable of servicing the sector.

Certificate of Airworthiness

The Airworthiness Certificate is applicable to both commercial and private aircraft. The  certificate is issued by the Civil Aviation Directorate once the aircraft An airworthiness review takes place in the following circumstances: a time frame of every 12 months to 36 months, on importation or otherwise on specific request by the Authority. The duration of the airworthiness review is on 1 day – 3 weeks. The inspection includes physical and documentation inspection and all findings must be closed unless an ARC is issued.


The Air Operator Certificate is granted to an operator of an aircraft who has satisfied the prerequisites stipulated at law to guarantee safe operation. An applicant for the AOC must meet all required technical and operational aspects and must not hold an AOC issued by another authority. The AOC is acquired by the operator together with the Air Operating License which authorizes the operator to provide air services. The AOL is granted if the operator satisfies all the requirements of the financial and commercial areas of the business which must be located in a Member State. The operator must also have an aircraft at his disposal to apply for the AOL. The process is for acquiring an AOC takes place in the following manner:

  1. The Pre-application phase
    This initiation phase involves preliminary discussions with the Flight Operations Inspectorate where information regarding the type of operations to be authorised shall be provided. In this phase, the applicant must have a clear understanding of the content of the documents necessary for the formal application.

  2. Formal Application phase
    Once the assessment is completed, the formal application for the AOC is submitted. Such application must reflect the method of compliance and preparations for detailed inspections in relation to the necessary manuals, training, the aircraft, operational and maintenance services including the keeping of records, flight crew, etc.

  3. Document Evaluation phase
    The documents and manuals provided by the applicant are at this stage examined thoroughly. This phase can be facilitated by the coordination of all the stages together with the Flight Operations Inspectorate.

  4. Inspection and demonstration phase
    At this stage, inspections of base and station, operational control and supervision facilities, training programs and facilities are carried out.

  5. Certification phase
    At this phase, the flight Operations Inspectorate is satisfied that all the certification requirements have been met, that the application has been completed, that the operator fulfills all the regulations and has the capacity to fulfill all responsibilities and conducting safe operations. The manifestation of this phase is reached with the issuance of the AOC. The Civil Aviation Directorate will in the meantime continue to conduct periodic inspections to ensure that the operator meets EU-OPS and CAD regulations.

PDF Description
DF Aviation Bochure


Email: maria.deguara@dfadvocates.com
Contact Name: Dr. Maria Deguara

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