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Registering an Aircraft in Malta

The registration of an aircraft in Malta is regulated by the Aircraft Registration Act (2010). This Act lays down the procedure on how and who may register an aircraft in accordance with Maltese law. As far as registration is concerned, the Act lays down the general procedures and requirements for an aircraft to be registered in accordance with Maltese law whilst also taking into consideration novel concepts such as the registration of mortgages and international interests in accordance with the provisions of the Cape Town Convention.

Maltese registered aircrafts are recorded in a register by the Director General whose authority falls under the Civil Aviation Directorate, the main authority responsible for aircraft registration.

Even though Maltese law is not restrictive on the types of aircrafts that are registered in Malta, not any individual can register an aircraft in Malta. The following individuals may register an aircraft in Malta:

  1. An owner of the aircraft who operates the said aircraft;
  2. An owner of an aircraft under construction or temporarily not being operated or managed; or
  3. An operator of an aircraft under a temporary title which satisfies the conditions which may be prescribed; or
  4. A buyer of an aircraft under a conditional sale or title reservation or similar agreement which satisfies the conditions which may be prescribed and who is authorised thereunder to operate the aircraft.

Such owner, operator or buyer is permitted to register an aircraft in Malta if that individual or company is either of the following:

  1. The Government of Malta;
  2. A citizen of Malta or a citizen of a Member State of the E.U. or of an EEA State, or Switzerland, having a place of residence or business in Malta, the E.U., the EEA, or Switzerland, including a person sharing in the ownership of such aircraft by virtue;
  3. Of the community of acquests subsisting between such person and a citizen as described above in whose name the aircraft is registered;
  4. An undertaking formed and existing in accordance with the laws of Malta, of a Member State of the E.U., of an EEA State, or of Switzerland and having its registered office, central administration and principal place of business within Malta, or the E.U., 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 E.U. or by persons referred to above, whether directly or indirectly through one or more intermediate undertakings.

With regards private aircrafts, a natural person who is a citizen of, or an undertaking established in a jurisdiction approved by the Minister by the Legal Notice ‘Aircraft Registrations (Approved Jurisdictions) Regulations, 2011, for the purposes of the Act (termed “International Registrant” in the Act), provided it has legal capacity to own / operate an aircraft in terms of law, may register an aircraft under Maltese law. When an application is submitted by an International Registrant from an approved jurisdiction, the applicant is required to appoint, prior to registration of an aircraft, a Resident Agent who shall be based in Malta and who shall act as the channel of communication between the International Registrant and the Director General and other Maltese government departments and authorities.

Where an applicant seeking to register a Maltese aircraft in its name is a body corporate and is resident outside Malta, it is required to produce the following documentation to the Directorate of Civil Aviation:-

  1. An original Legal Opinion duly notarised and legalised by a lawyer qualified in the jurisdiction where the international owner is established, and issued as of recent date (i.e. not earlier than 3 months). The Legal Opinion should follow the format in Appendix I to this IAN;
  2. An original Certificate of Good Standing issued by the competent (companies) authority, as of recent date, referable to the international owner;
  3. A copy of the valid Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) of the international owner, duly certified by a lawyer or notary public, as a true copy of the original M&A.

Article written by Dr Sean Xerri de Caro.

For more information on the Registration of Aircrafts in Malta, including legal and non-legal documentation to be presented to the Authority, kindly contact Dr. Robert Tufigno on rtufigno@gtgadvocates.com or Dr. Sean Xerri de Caro on sxerridecaro@gtgadvocates.com.

This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.