The Malta Aircraft Registration Act of 2010 is the primary source of Maltese Law on aircraft registration, The act issues the provisions of the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment. This ensures that the third parties' rights are enforceable and the international interests are protected, irrespective of the aircraft’s nature.
The inception of this Act resulted in Malta having one of the most reputable aircraft registers and boosting the country’s aviation sector. This makes co-ownership legal and allows multiple investors to register as the proprietors of the aircraft. Co-financing and multiple security interests can be registered as separate fractions, financeable by different creditors.
Moreover, the Act recognises trusts as owners. The interests of beneficiaries are acknowledged even if the registrant is eligible and the beneficiaries are not named on the public register. This guarantees the continued confidentiality of the instrument of trust.
Benefits of registering an aircraft in Malta
The advantages of having a Malta-registered aircraft are not in any way short. Notably, the Act allows:
- Registering the aircraft under construction once the craft is uniquely identifiable
- Recording various details about the aircraft, its ownership or any other relevant interests
- Registering an “international interest” according to which security interests are created, and their priority ranked
Apart from this, the Act also allows broad registration possibilities for an aircraft that has not been used in commercial air transport.
The competitive aviation registration and renewal costs complement the benefits within a well-regulated and high-quality eco-system. Malta’s register is also backed by an attractive corporate tax system and numerous fiscal benefits.
Qualified criteria to register an aircraft in Malta
The qualification criteria for non-residents of Malta depends on whether the aircraft is for private or commercial purposes. On the one hand, the Government of Malta can be an aircraft registrant for commercial air.
Malta/EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can be aircraft registrants as well, provided they are residents or business owners in Malta, following the laws. They must have a principal place of business and central administration in the country. At least 50% must be owned beneficially by the Government of Malta or a Malta/EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.
Commercial air services require Air Operator Certificate and Air Operating License, both issued by the Civil Aviation Directorate.
On the other hand, any citizen of a member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) may register a private aircraft. Citizens of countries approved in terms of the Aircraft Registration (Approved Jurisdictions) Regulations of 2011 may register the aircraft in Malta.
They must have the legal capacity to own or operate an aircraft in terms of Maltese law. Registrants must comply with applicable regulations and guidelines. Generally, a resident agent must represent the owner in Malta for matters concerning the registration of the aircraft.
Qualifying registrants may register one or multiple aircrafts in Malta under multiple capacities, including:
- An owner operating an aircraft
- An owner of an aircraft that under construction or is temporarily not being operated or managed
- An operator of an aircraft under a temporary title
- An investor of an aircraft under a conditional sale or title reservation agreement who is authorised to operate the aircraft
- A trustee for the benefit of beneficiaries
Tax Benefits for Private Aircraft in Malta
The private use by an individual who is not a resident of Malta does not constitute a taxable fringe benefit. The same applies to employees or officers of businesses with activities that include ownership leasing and other aircraft operations used for international transport.
Moreover, from a VAT perspective, private aircraft leasing guidelines reduce the VAT percentage on lease charges. The VAT rate is calculated based on time spent in European Union airspace and the craft’s range in kilometers.