Air services

Obtaining a Maltese operating license when providing air services – Aviation

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Every Maltese company responsible for the transport of passengers, cargo or mail by air (for remuneration) is required to obtain an operating license issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAD) and regulated by Civil Aviation (Air Transport Licensing Regulations).1

In Malta, in accordance with Article 4 of Regulation 1008/2008, air carriers are only granted an operating license by the CAD if the following conditions are met:

  • it has its main establishment in Malta;

  • he has obtained a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AoC) issued by the DAC;

  • its main profession and object is to operate air services singly or in combination with any other commercial operation of aircraft or the repair and maintenance of aircraft;

  • it has one or more aircraft under bareboat rental or ownership;

  • it is more than 50% owned and effectively controlled by Member States or EU nationals, directly or indirectly through one or more intermediary companies.

  • its corporate structure is transparent;

  • it meets several financial requirements;

  • he is of good reputation and is not involved in bankruptcy proceedings and

  • it complies with insurance requirements.2

With respect to financial requirements, first-time applicants must demonstrate to the CSA that they are fully capable of3:

  1. meet potential and actual obligations for a period of 24 months from the start of operations; and

  2. meet the fixed and operational costs induced by its operations according to its business plan and established according to realistic assumptions, for a period of 3 months from the start of its operations, without taking into account any income derived from its operations.

In addition, new applicants are also required to submit the following documents in order to obtain an operator license, namely4;

  1. the most recent internal management accounts and, subject to availability, the audited accounts for the previous financial year;

  2. a forecast balance sheet, including the profit and loss accounts, for the following two years;

  3. the basis of expense and revenue forecasts for fuel, fares and tariffs, salaries, maintenance, depreciation, exchange rate fluctuations, airport charges, insurance, traffic and revenue forecasts ;

  4. details of start-up costs incurred between the submission of the application and the start of operations and an explanation of how it is proposed to finance these costs;

  5. details of existing and proposed funding sources;

  6. shareholder details, including nationalities and types of shares held, and company statutes;

  7. cash flow forecasts and liquidity plans for the first two years of operation; and

  8. details of the financing of the purchase and lease of aircraft, including the terms and conditions of the contract in the event of a lease.

First and foremost, it is important to note that “air services” that operate locally (i.e. local flights) and services that are performed by unpowered aircraft or powered ultralight aircraft do not require operating license.


1 EU Regulation 1008/2008

2 Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on insurance requirements applicable to air carriers and aircraft operators.

3 Regulation 1008/2008, article 5

4 Regulations SL 499.28, Civil Aviation Regulations (Air Transport Licensing)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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