Air Charter Scotland has ratified six months preparation during the summer lockdown to secure an international Maltese Air Operators Certificate (AOC).
Air Charter Scotland Europe Citation CJ3.
Courtesy Air Charter Scotland / Photo Mario Caruana
Two aircraft from its 10-strong fleet are now under the Maltese jurisdiction, enabling the business to operate within the EU under fifth freedom rights (the ability to fly between the 27 EU states), complementing its mainstay G-Reg operations out of the UK.
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 took its new registration at the end of December, with Air Charter Scotland Europe becoming the last new operator of 2020 to be registered under the friendly 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. “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.
Derek and his team worked closely with the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate and law firm Valletta-based GVZH Advocates through the extensive application process, satisfying Transport Malta’s exacting due diligence process. Dialogue commenced 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,” Derek said. “Having both G-registered and 9H-registered aircraft puts us in a strong position for charter work when the rebound comes.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Air Charter Scotland Europe to our international registry,” commented Charles Pace, Director General, Transport Malta. “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 15th December 2020.”
The Maltese Registry is growing in popularity, largely owing to its efficiency and 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.
Charles Pace said: “Malta has become an important hub for a growing number of business aviation companies and business charter activities.
“We set up the registry 10 years ago but the last four years have become exceptionally busy and we now have to control the expansion,” said Charles Pace. Ten more operators are looking to add aircraft to the registry, including three from the UK.
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 strategic partnerships with its regulatory counterparts in the EU. It gives Malta access to a wider range of regulatory capabilities to support its International Aircraft Registry.