Established in 2010, the Malta Aircraft Registry has built an exceptional reputation among many private and commercial operators around the globe and has become one of the fastest growing registers in Europe.
As at 24th February 2022, the Registry had circa 600 aircraft and helicopters registered with the ‘9H’ prefix, positioning itself as one of the primary hubs for aviation within the European Union.
Malta is a highly competitive jurisdiction driven by economic development and a well-established legal infrastructure, affording it the ability to offer aircraft owners and operators cost-effective solutions for private, business and commercial aviation.
Besides a strategic location in the Mediterranean and its competitive tax regime, there are many benefits to registering an aircraft in Malta.
Malta boasts all of the advantages associated with being a member of the EU – its geographical location, a European time zone, political and economic stability and a robust legislative framework.
There are a number of fiscal incentives to choosing Malta for structuring the ownership and registration of an aircraft, whether it is to be used for commercial or private purposes, including highly competitive registration fees and operational costs.
Malta’s aircraft registration process is structured in such a manner to enable fast and efficient registration of both commercial and private aircraft, including those still under construction. It is also possible for separate registration of the aircraft and its engines.
The Maltese ‘9H’ prefix offers international operators unparalleled flexibility. Whilst aircraft may be registered in Malta, they can be owned and operated anywhere in the world and have the ability to freely operate in the Eurozone.
There are also no restrictions on the age of an aircraft or the maximum weight of an aircraft with the Malta aircraft register.
Malta has an extensive network of double taxation treaties. However, the tax regime in Malta offers favourable rules for aviation income whereby non-domiciled individuals can reduce their tax to 0% through Malta’s tax refund regime.
There is no withholding tax on lease payments where the lessor is not a tax resident of Malta, nor on the distribution of dividends or interest payments outside of Malta. There may also be some cases where entities may be considered exempt for fringe benefit taxation. In Malta, aircraft are not subject to stamp duty.
Fully recognised and acknowledged by Maltese Law, fractional ownership allows for the ownership of a single aircraft to be split into multiple shares. It may be divided into specified percentage stakes between co-owners through corporate and trust structures, which can subsequently be individually financed by creditors.
The Cape Town Convention aims to reduce the cost of raising finance for large, high value mobile assets that routinely cross borders. It provides standard resolutions in the event of a default by a debtor and the Aircraft protocol modifies the Convention to meet particular requirements of aircraft financing and leasing, including the ability to request the removal of an aircraft from the national civil aircraft register and to export it.
Malta ratified the Cape Town Convention in October 2010 and it came into force in Malta in February 2011. In doing so, aircraft registered in Malta may be more attractive to lenders and benefit from lower interest rates, financing and leasing costs.
Aircraft constitute a particular class of movables whereby they form separate and distinct assets within the estate of their owners for the security of actions and claims to which the aircraft is subject.
A registered aircraft may be made a security for any debt or other obligation by means of a mortgage deed executed by the mortgagor in favour of the mortgagee and registered in the National Aircraft Register by the Director General of Civil Aviation
All registered mortgages, any special privileges and all actions and claims to which an aircraft may be subject will not be affected by the bankruptcy and/or insolvency of the mortgagor meaning that such mortgage, privilege or claim will have preference on the said aircraft, over all other debts, claims or interests of any other creditor of the owner’s estate.
Being a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified jurisdiction and having an FAA Category 1 rating, the Malta Aircraft Registry complies with, and holds its operators to, the highest levels of safety and security regulations within the industry.
Malta has become increasingly popular over the years for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and has consequently established itself as an aircraft maintenance hub in Europe. It is home to Airbus overhaul specialist, Lufthansa Technik, and SR Technics, a centre of excellence for narrow-body aircraft maintenance who have recently expanded their operations with a new modern six-bay hangar at Malta International Airport, to enable them to provide high quality aircraft maintenance and cabin modification services to both narrow and wide-bodied aircraft.
At Sentient International, we deliver effective solutions through a comprehensive range of aviation services to a broad spectrum of international clients.
Our professional team can assist with the establishment and administration of bespoke aircraft structures, aircraft importation, international aircraft registration, acquisition and sale of aircraft, VAT registration and administration, project management, tax compliance and administration, bookkeeping and accounting, assistance with opening corporate bank accounts and crew employment and payroll services.
We are committed to providing the highest level of customer care whilst ensuring that the services we provide are delivered professionally, reliably and with complete integrity.