Registering an Aircraft in Malta

In 2010, the Aircraft Registration Malta Act came into force, the main aim of this act is to regulate the registration of an aircraft in accordance with Maltese law. The Act also takes into consideration the registration and enforcement of aircraft mortgages and the implementation of the Cape Town Convention.

Malta is a highly competitive jurisdiction with high economic development in several areas of the aviation industry and a well-established legal infrastructure. Not to mention the freedom of movement within European Union Member States on international and internal flights has made Malta an ideal jurisdiction for private aircraft registration.

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

Who Is Qualified to Register an Aircraft in Malta?

Although Maltese law is not limiting the types of aircrafts that are registered in Malta, the eligible registrants differ depending on whether the aircraft is used for commercial air services or for private purposes. The following individuals may register an aircraft in Malta:

  • The owner of the aircraft who operates the said aircraft;
  • The owner of an aircraft that is undergoing construction or temporarily not being operated or managed; or
  • The operator of an aircraft under a temporary title which gratifies the conditions which may be prescribed; or
  • The buyer of an aircraft under a conditional sale or title reservation which satisfies the conditions which may be prescribed and who is authorised thereunder to operate the aircraft mentioned.

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

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

With regards to 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. Once 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 will act as the channel of communication between the International Registrant and the Director-General and other Maltese government departments and authorities.

The main advantages of registering aircraft in the Maltese jurisdiction are:

  • An attractive corporate tax system;
  • Robust legislative framework and an extensive network of double taxation treaties;
  • High standards of safety and security.
  • No withholding tax on lease payments where the lessor is not a tax resident of Malta;
  • Transparency of rights and interests in aircraft;
  • Competitive minimum depreciation periods for aircraft;
  • An extensive network of double taxation treaties; and
  • No taxable fringe benefits arising from the private use of the aircraft by non-resident individuals who are shareholders, employees or officers of companies involved in the international transport of goods or passengers.

For more information on how Zeta can assist you please contact our Business Development team on