Last week Chris Borg attended the annual Mediterranean Business Aviation summit held in Malta. This event is organised by AeroPodium and welcomes international and local industry professionals, providing a great opportunity to discuss and debate the present situation and future prospects of the business aviation industry in the Mediterranean region.
The summit was opened with an address by the Hon. Edward Zammit Lewis, Malta’s Minister responsible for the aviation sector. He outlined the Government’s current efforts to further enhance the Maltese legal framework governing aviation with a view to overcoming current challenges, (such as the current political instability in certain Mediterranean countries, in particular Libya) to enable the jurisdiction to remain competitive and successful in attracting new operators and aircraft registrations to Malta.
90% growth within 4 years
The summit emphasised the drive to sustain the momentum which Malta’s aircraft register has gained since the enactment of the new aircraft registration law in 2010. Within a period of 4 years, the number of aircraft registered has increased by more than 90%, reflecting Malta’s increasing popularity as a jurisdiction for aircraft registration. There are a number of benefits of registering an aircraft in Malta including: a highly efficient and professional registration process, world class protection offered to financiers and recognition of fractional ownership interests. This combined with the use of Maltese entities makes Malta a very attractive jurisdiction to register an aircraft in.
During the summit it was reported that Europe’s business jet sector has gone through some challenging years, and whilst European business aviation continues to represents an important share of the total global market, emerging regions such as Latin America are catching up fast. To keep things in perspective, it is also worth noting that North America continues to account for the lion’s share of the global market, with over 60% share.
Jet fleet sizes are increasing in Malta
Delegates were also provided with an analysis of fleet sizes from 2008 to date. The statistics show that some European countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece and Cyprus have suffered a decline in fleet sizes. Malta, on the other hand, has been a success story in the EU (hence applying EASA standards), with 75 jets currently on the register consisting of a young fleet at the very top end of the market. Malta has also become a key location for aircraft charter operators, several of which have obtained an AOC in Malta. Indeed, 80% of Malta’s fleet of jets is owned by charter operators. Chartering is a growing segment and is increasingly seen by business jet travellers as a less risky alternative to buying and owning a jet.
Malta a winner for cost efficiency and service
An interesting real life experience was delivered by Colin Brickman from CAMO4jets (an international aviation consultancy), whose experience in working in several different aviation jurisdictions suggests that Malta registered aircraft have resulted in by far the best and most cost efficient jet transactions, with excellent professional service provided by Transport Malta (the Maltese civil aviation authority) as well as by legal and trust professionals. While Malta is not a flag of convenience, it is certainly a highly convenient jurisdiction for business aviation!