FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – AIR OPERATING CERTIFICATES (AOC) / AIR OPERATING LICENSE (AOLS) IN THE MALTESE JURISDICTION
What is an Air Operating License (AOL)?
The Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) at the Authority of Transport in Malta is the authority responsible for issuing AOLs in accordance with EU Council Air Services Regulation 1008/2008. An operating license refers to an authorization granted by the competent licensing authority to an undertaking, permitting it to provide air services as stated in the operating license. Therefore, no undertaking established shall be permitted to carry by air passengers, mail and/or cargo for the remuneration and/or hire unless it has been granted the appropriate operating license. In order for an operating license to be granted, the conditions referred to in Article 4 of the EU Council Air Services Regulation 1008/2008 have to be met.
What is an Air Operating Certificate (AOC)?
An AOC is a certificate which confirms that the operator has the professional ability and the organization required to ensure the safety of operations specified in the certificate. These operations are in accordance with requirements imposed by the EU and National Law. Therefore, aircraft operators engaged in commercial air transport are required to be in possession of an air operator certificate. This certificate is also an approval to an aircraft operator to allow it to use its aircraft for commercial purposes.
Maltese AOCs are issued in accordance with European Aviation Safe regulations. The Civil Aviation Director (CAD) at the Authority of Transport in Malta is authority responsible for issuing AOCs to aircraft operators in accordance with the EU Council Air Services Regulation 1008/2008
The requirements for the issuance of an AOC by the CAD are outlined in the Operations Advisory Notice of 8th July 2016. The operator must comply and satisfy all the requirements for the issue of an AOL prior to the commencement of the issuance of an AOC.
What are the rights and obligations of the license holder?
Once the Director of Civil Aviation grants the Air Operating License, this enables the license holder to carry passengers and cargo for hire or reward on chartered air services within the geographical limitations specified in the company’s Air Operator’s Certificate. The license holder shall operate aircraft registered in Malta and/or the European Economic Area and Switzerland, which are either owned by him or which have been acquired by the license holder under charter, lease or sub-lease, hire purchase and/or similar arrangements, and which are specified in the AOC.
The license holder shall take out to the satisfaction of the Director of Civil Aviation an adequate insurance policy against any liability which may be incurred by the Company in respect of the death or of bodily injury to any person including passengers, or the damage to any property caused by or arising from the use of aircraft. Additionally, the license holder shall notify the Director of Civil Aviation within fourteen (14) days of any change in the ownership of any single shareholding that represents 10% or more of the total shareholding of the air transport undertaking or its holding company.
What are the advantages of obtaining an AOC?
There are many benefits which arise as a result of the registration of an aircraft in Malta. Some of which include the registration of an aircraft within the country, whilst others refer to fiscal benefits.
Aircraft operators who obtain a European AOC in line with Regulation 1008/2008 will benefit from the freedom of movement within the EU. In relation to the rights and interests in the aircraft, the AOC provides full transparency and moreover, the operator may register an aircraft for either private or commercial use.