Industry insights

Obtaining an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and Air Operator License (AOL) in Malta

29 Apr 2024

The Air Operator Certificate (AOC) is indispensable for conducting air services within the European Union, ensuring the highest standards of safety and professionalism. Simultaneously, the Air Operator License (AOL), issued by the TM Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD), authorizes the provision of specific air services. Both certificates are prerequisites before initiating operations.

Why Malta?

  • The CAD's registry has seen significant growth over the past decade, propelled by several factors:
  • English Language: Official correspondence from the Government and CAD is in English, facilitating seamless communication.
  • Efficiency and Pro-Business Environment: The CAD has a proven track record of efficiency and a business-friendly approach.
  • Secured Aircraft Ownership: Malta offers registered securities over aircraft in compliance with international conventions, safeguarding the rights of owners and financiers.
  • Taxation Benefits: Foreign-owned corporate structures benefit from favorable tax rates.
  • EU and EASA Membership: Malta's full membership in the European Union and its status as an EASA member state ensure regulatory alignment and compliance.
  • Innovative Corporate Ownership Structures: Malta offers secure and innovative aircraft ownership structures, including cell structures for asset segregation.

Requirements and Process

  • To obtain an AOC and AOL, the undertaking must meet specific criteria:
  • Have a principal place of business and registered office in Malta.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct safe operations and suitable organizational management.
  • Define clear procedures for operational supervision.
  • Appoint an accountable manager responsible for effective management and compliance.
  • Ensure aircraft and crews meet required qualifications.
  • Nominate individuals responsible for the management and supervision of flight operations, ground operations, crew training and continued airworthiness of aircraft and aeronautical products, parts, and appliances.

Vaia Legal's Approach

Vaia Legal streamlines the process, ensuring regulatory compliance and minimizing bureaucracy. Our approach includes:

  • Understanding the project and Maltese legal framework.
  • Mapping out the path forward aligned with client requirements.
  • Confirming project eligibility and initiating onboarding.
  • Commencing the AOC process with CAD and establishing Maltese legal entities.
  • Assisting with client establishment in Malta, including office setup and staffing.

Following this process, Vaia Legal will then guide the client through the CAD’s 5 step ICAO certification process for the issue of an AOC (and AOL):

  1. 1. Pre-Application – Company incorporation and legal set up in Malta, and preliminary meeting with the CAD Flight Operation Inspectorate to discuss the envisaged projects;
  2. 2. Formal Application – Commences after all the parameters required and the issuance of the AOL are ensured. The application shows in-depth evaluation, demonstration and inspection of all required elements.
  3. 3. Document Evaluation – A detailed analysis of all documents submitted to establish that every element is satisfied.
  4. 4. Demonstration and Inspection – Review of bases, facilities, operational controls, training programmes, control systems, flight demonstrations, etc
  5. 5. Certification – Issued once all requirements have been satisfied.

Due to the volume of applications, we recommend considering a minimum six-month timeframe for application processing.

For more information about AOC Applications, you can visit our website