Although Malta has had a register for civil aviation for more than half a century, new legislation introduced in 2010 by virtue of the Aircraft Registration Act (Chapter 503 of the Laws of Malta) has served to revamp the aircraft register by consolidating the existing aviation legislative framework and by incorporating novel concepts, further enhancing Malta’s reputation as an aviation centre.

Amongst the novel and advantageous concepts that have been introduced within the civil aviation legislative framework, reference may be made to:

– Broader registration possibilities – thus, for instance, there are no EU nationality restrictions on who can register an aircraft for private use and it is also possible to register an aircraft under construction.

– Fractional ownership and use of trust – plurality of ownership is allowed through fractional ownership and use of trusts.

– Registration of mortgages, with remedies in case of default – The Aircraft Registration Act provides enhanced protection for mortgagees including by providing that all registered mortgages, to which a Maltese-registered aircraft may be subject, are not affected by the bankruptcy or insolvency of its mortgagor/owner occurring after the date on which the mortgage was created.

– Accession to the Cape Town Convention – The provisions of the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its Aircraft Protocol have been implemented in the the Aircraft Registration Act. The Cape Town Convention provides financiers with the peace of mind of clear prior ranking over the aircraft and engines in case of insolvency of the borrower or operator and allows them to exercise self-help remedies directly without recourse to the courts. As a result of the advantage of mitigating financial risk, interest rates charged are typically lower, resulting in reduced financing and leasing costs borne by purchasers or operators of aircraft in Malta, generally referred to as ‘Cape Town Discounts’.

– Transparency of rights and interests in aircraft – The Aircraft Registration Act provides for a more informative national aircraft register, thereby catering for current market realities.

– Attractive Fiscal Regime (see Taxation).