Air Charter Scotland receives last Malta AOC of 2020


Air Charter Scotland has secured an international Maltese Air Operator’s Certificate after six months ratification. Two aircraft from its 10-strong fleet are now under the Maltese jurisdiction, allowing the business to operate within the EU under fifth freedom rights (the ability to fly between the 27 EU states), as well as its G-Reg operations.

The first aircraft, 9H-EDT, a Bombardier Challenger 350, is based in Nice, South of France and the second, 9H-WIN, a CJ3+ is positioned in Malta. The latter was registered at the end of December, with Air Charter Scotland Europe becoming the last new operator of 2020 to be registered under the jurisdiction. The business now has three dedicated crew based in Europe to support the operation.

“The summer pause proved to be an exceptionally busy time for us as we worked to arrange the Certificate,” explained Air Charter Scotland commercial director and accountable manager Derek Thomson.

‘Summer proved to be exceptionally busy’

“The establishment of Air Charter Scotland Europe marks a significant and strategic step for our 20-year-old business as we look to add more managed aircraft to our fleet and open new bases this spring. Thanks to the excellent efficiency and strong regulatory aviation knowledge of the Maltese regulator, the whole registration process worked extremely well,” he said.

Thomson and the team worked closely with the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate and GVZH Advocates through the application process. Talks started with Charles Pace, director general, Transport Malta, following a meeting at EBACE in Geneva in 2018.

“We determined late in 2019 it was a sensible step to embark upon to protect us from whatever obstacles Brexit would throw up, operationally. We intend to have a third aircraft on the registry by April, giving us and our clients, the utmost flexibility in being able to offer charter in the EU territories,” Thomson said. “Having both G-registered and 9H-registered aircraft puts us in a strong position for charter work when the rebound comes.”

Pace said: “We are very pleased to welcome Air Charter Scotland Europe to our international registry. They are a terrific team, highly professional, and committed to doing things properly. We worked very well together, along with Dr Katrina Abela at GVZH, talking on Microsoft Teams mostly and signed off on their second aircraft, 9H-WIN on December 15th 2020.”

569 aircraft registered

The Maltese Registry is growing in popularity, largely owing to its efficiency, fair pricing, as well as being an English-speaking Island, which enjoys a special status with the UK. Of 569 aircraft registered, mainly with commercial airlines, 168 are business jets registered to 37 operators. “Malta has become an important hub for a growing number of business aviation companies and business charter activities,” he added.

In addition, Malta has moved into the aircraft leasing business “to square the circle and have lessors’ collaboration using Malta as their base”.

Underlining the special relationship between the UK and Malta, in January, CAA International (CAAi) the technical cooperation arm of the UK CAA awarded a two-year contract to deliver flight simulator device evaluations and training service to the Civil Aviation Directorate of Transport Malta – the first of several new partnerships with its regulatory counterparts in the EU.

Meanwhile, read more about Malta’s expanding business aviation sector in the latest edition of Corporate Jet Investor Quarterly.