The Aviation Law Review: Malta

Introduction

Malta is a party to several international treaties in the field of aviation, including, in addition to those outlined in Section II, the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, the 1963 Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, the 1970 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft and the 2001 Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (the Cape Town Convention). Moreover, as a Member State of the EU since 2004, Malta is also bound by the numerous EU aviation directives and regulations.

However, the milestone in the Maltese aviation sector came in 2010 with the introduction of the Aircraft Registration Act (ARA),2 giving Malta a modern framework for aircraft registration and security interests over aviation assets. Accession to the Cape Town Convention has further strengthened the protection of mortgagees, in turn strengthening Malta's international appeal as an aviation jurisdiction of choice. Malta's success as an aviation jurisdiction is evident today in the year-on-year increase in the number of aircraft registered in Malta, which has grown by some 500 per cent in the past 10 years, with more than 665 aircraft now registered under the '9H' Malta register.

Furthermore, as a centre for international financial and trading services with an attractive corporate tax regime and aviation-specific fiscal advantages, Malta continues to attract interest in other areas of the aviation sector such as operator licences and the wider panorama of aircraft finance generally.

The Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) within the Authority for Transport in Malta (TM) regulates all aviation activities in Malta and is responsible for:

  1. the safety of aircraft;
  2. aircraft and aerodrome operators;
  3. air navigation service providers;
  4. the licensing of aeronautical personnel; and
  5. the conclusion of international air services agreements.

In wrongful death claims, the Maltese courts may, in addition to any actual loss and expenses incurred (damnum emergens), award to the heirs of the deceased person damages consisting in the loss of future earnings (lucrum cessans) of the deceased person. However, if the wrongful death is the result of a wilful act or omission, the damage to be made good will also include any moral harm or psychological harm caused to the claimant up to a maximum limit of €10,000. See Section VII for more information.

The Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations (the Investigation of Air Accidents Regulations)3 contain provisions on voluntary reporting of incidents with a view to promoting the concept of a 'just culture'. See Section X for more information.

Legal framework for liability

i International carriage

Malta has ratified the following international instruments relating to international carriage: the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to International Carriage by Air (Warsaw, 1929) (the Warsaw Convention) and the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal, 1999) (the Montreal Convention) (the Warsaw Convention and the Montreal Convention collectively, the Carriage by Air Conventions).

By virtue of its membership of the EU, Regulation (EC) No. 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents (the Air Carrier Liability Regulation)4 is also directly applicable in Malta.

The Carriage by Air (International and Non-International Carriage) Order (the Order)5 stipulates that the Carriage by Air Conventions have the force of law in Malta in relation to any carriage by air to which they apply, irrespective of the nationality of the aircraft performing that carriage. However, they do not apply in relation to Community air carriers (as defined in the Order) to the extent that the provisions of the Air Carrier Liability Regulation have the force of law in Malta.

The Order also stipulates that any liability imposed by Article 17 of the Carriage by Air Conventions on a carrier in respect of the death or wounding or any other bodily injury of a passenger shall be in substitution for any liability of the carrier in respect of the death or wounding or any other bodily injury of that passenger under Maltese law.

ii Internal and other non-convention carriage

The Order provides that the Montreal Convention applies to non-international carriage by air subject to the exceptions, adaptations and modifications established by the Order. The modifications in question include the omission or non-applicability of certain provisions of the Montreal Convention, such as Article 1.3 (Carriage to be performed by several successive carriers), Article 24 (Review of Limits), Article 33 (Jurisdiction), Article 46 (Additional Jurisdiction) and Article 51 (Carriage Performed in Extraordinary Circumstances). However, this should all be without prejudice to the provisions of the Air Carrier Liability Regulation, which applies to carriage by air within a single EU Member State and to which Malta is bound to adhere by virtue of its membership of the EU.

Where the non-international carriage by air does not fall within the ambit of the Order or the Air Carrier Liability Regulation, any liability of the carrier in respect of passengers, baggage or cargo should fall to be regulated by the Civil Code6 provisions on tort, which are fault-based.

iii General aviation regulation

Liability in the operation of civil aviation aircraft is governed by various legislative instruments concerning civil aviation. For instance, the Civil Aviation Act (CAA)7 establishes liability in this regard as follows:

  1. on the pilot or the person in charge of the aircraft and also the owner or lessee thereof (unless the owner or lessee proves that the aircraft was so flown without the owner or lessee's actual fault or privity) where an aircraft is flown in such a manner as to be the cause of unnecessary danger to any person or property on land or water;
  2. on the owner of the aircraft or on any other person to whom the aircraft has been demised, let or hired out for any period exceeding 14 days (both of whom are entitled to indemnification if another person is legally liable) where material loss or damage is caused to any person or property on land or water by an aircraft, or by an article or person falling therefrom, while in flight, taking off or landing unless the material loss or damage was caused by the negligence of the person by whom it was suffered; and
  3. on the operator, the pilot or the person in charge of the aircraft in the event that an aircraft is used without the necessary operating licence or permit from the CAD as required by the CAA or is used in breach of any conditions to which that licence or permit is subject. Liability in this respect can also be imposed on any other person who made available facilities for travel or the consignment of goods on that flight knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect that the aircraft would used in the above-mentioned manner. Similarly, the Civil Aviation (Air Operators' Certificates) Act (the AOC Act)8 imposes liability on the operator of that aircraft and the member of the flight crew designated as commander of that aircraft by the operator or, failing that person, the person who is for the time being the pilot in command of the aircraft whenever the aircraft is flown without or in breach of the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) required by the AOC Act.

In addition, both the CAA and the AOC Act provide that where an offence thereunder is committed by an association or body of persons, every person who, at the time of the offence, was a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the association or body of persons or was purporting to act in that capacity will be guilty of that offence unless he or she proves that it was committed without his or her knowledge and that he or she exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

The Air Navigation Order,9 establishing certain conditions for an aircraft to be permitted to fly, also imposes liability on the operator of that aircraft and its commander, in addition to the liability of any other person, for contravening any provision of the Order in relation to an aircraft, unless they prove that the contravention occurred without their consent or connivance and that they exercised all due diligence to prevent the contravention.

iv Passenger rights

Aside from the rights established by the Order and the Air Carrier Liability Regulation (see Section II.i and Section II.ii), consumer rights in Malta governing compensation for delay, cancellation of flights and carriage of disabled passengers are largely dictated by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No. 295/91 (the EU Denied Boarding Regulation). Accordingly, Malta, like other EU Member States, is required to ensure compliance by its air carriers with the provisions of the EU Denied Boarding Regulation, to designate a national enforcement body, to establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions that would apply in the event of a breach of the Regulation and to ensure that such sanctions are applied.

The Denied Boarding (Compensation and Assistance to Air Passengers) Regulations (the Denied Boarding Regulations)10 thus provide that the Director General (Consumer Affairs), as defined in the Consumer Affairs Act,11 is the designated person responsible for monitoring and the investigating compliance with the provisions of the EU Denied Boarding Regulation with regard to flights from airports situated in Malta and flights from a third country to airports situated in Malta. In discharging these functions, the Director General (Consumer Affairs) has the power, inter alia, to investigate and to institute judicial proceedings before the Civil Court (Commercial Section).

Moreover, the Denied Boarding Regulations stipulate that an operating air carrier that fails to comply with an obligation imposed on it by Articles 4 to 6, 10, 11 or 14 of the EU Denied Boarding Regulation will be guilty of an infringement punishable by a penalty of not less than €470 and not exceeding €5,000 and that, in the case of non-compliance with a compliance order, the Civil Court (Commercial Section) must impose a daily penalty of not less than €120 and not more than €230 for each day of non-compliance. Nevertheless, the Denied Boarding Regulations allow the operating air carrier to prove that it took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing such an infringement as a defence in proceedings brought against it. It also grants any person who feels aggrieved by a judgment, order, penalty or measure issued by the Civil Court (Commercial Section) the right to appeal before the Court of Appeal, on any point of law, or of fact, by means of an application filed within 20 days of the date of the judgment of the Civil Court (Commercial Section). The Court of Appeal is obliged to appoint the case for hearing by not later than six months from the judgment of the Civil Court (Commercial Section).

In addition to the EU Denied Boarding Regulation, Malta is bound by Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air (the Disabled Persons Travelling by Air Regulation). Accordingly, Malta is required to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Regulation, designate a national enforcement body and establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties that would apply in the event of a breach of the Regulation and to ensure that such penalties are applied.

The Civil Aviation (Rights of Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility) Regulations (the Civil Aviation (Rights of Disabled Persons) Regulations)12 thus provide that the Director General of Civil Aviation (the Director General) is the designated person responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the Disabled Persons Travelling by Air Regulation as regards flights departing from or arriving at airports situated in Malta, as well as the handling of complaints thereunder. The Civil Aviation (Rights of Disabled Persons) Regulations also establish a fine of not less €465.87 and not exceeding €2,329.37 on any air carrier (or its agent), tour operator or the managing body of the airport that fails to comply with the obligations pertaining to it under the Disabled Persons Travelling by Air Regulation.

Finally, the rights of persons with disabilities are further safeguarded in terms of the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act13 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.14 In particular, the latter Act15 makes provision for, inter alia, the possibility of civil claims alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in respect of the substantive articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In particular, it prohibits the exclusion from, denial of or discrimination against a person with a disability in relation to the provision of certain goods, facilities or services, including facilities for transport or travel by land, sea or air unless the provision of those goods, facilities or services would be impracticable or unsafe and could not be made practicable and safe by reasonable changes to rules, policies or practices, or the removal of architectural, communication or transport barriers or the provision of auxiliary aids or services.

v Other legislation

For competition law (cartels, dominance) and product liability law, refer to Section VI and Section VIII.iii, respectively.

With regard to anti-corruption law, the Criminal Code16 contains several provisions relating to abuse of public authority. In this regard, it criminalises, inter alia, acts that constitute exaction, extortion or bribery committed by or in relation to those persons prescribed by the Criminal Code, including public officers or servants. Moreover, the Permanent Commission Against Corruption Act17 provides for the establishment and functions of a permanent commission against corruption. The commission's various functions include that of investigating allegations or suspicions of corrupt practices by or with the participation of the persons mentioned in this Act, including a public officer, a minister or a parliamentary secretary and to draft a report thereon for the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General if in the opinion of the Commission the conduct investigated is corrupt or connected with or conducive to corrupt practices. Corrupt practices are acts or omissions that constitute offences under certain provisions in the Criminal Code relating to abuse of public authority as outlined above, as well as acts or omissions that constitute an attempt, complicity or conspiracy to commit the offences.

Of note with regard to environmental law, the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System for Aviation Regulations (the EU ETS (Aviation) Regulations)18 implement the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in Malta. The EU ETS (Aviation) Regulations impose obligations on certain aircraft operators in relation to monitoring and reporting of annual emissions, as well as surrendering sufficient allowances (as defined in these Regulations) within the prescribed time while also establishing fines for breach of these obligations. For the purposes of the EU ETS (Aviation) Regulations, where the aircraft operator is not known or is not identified by the owner of the aircraft, the owner of the aircraft shall be deemed to be the aircraft operator.

In addition, criminal liability and punishment is imposed on anyone found guilty of committing any of the unlawful acts as defined by and in terms of the Crimes Against the Environment Act,19 which transposes Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law.

Licensing of operations

i Licensed activities

A licence to carry by air passengers, mail or cargo for remuneration or hire (the operating licence) is required in Malta in terms of and subject to Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (Recast) (the Operation of Air Services Regulation). The power to grant, revoke or suspend an operating licence pursuant to the Operation of Air Services Regulation is vested in the CAD. The application for the grant of an operating licence is to be accompanied by a variety of documents, including documents containing information relating to the aircraft specifications and proposed operations of the applicant. See also Section III.ii.

Aside from the exemptions granted by the Operation of Air Services Regulation, there is no requirement under Maltese law for an operating licence in respect of certain aircraft, such as those whose maximum total weight does not exceed 2,700 kilograms and that are used on a flight (1) in which persons are carried for the purpose of being given instructions in flying; (2) in which passengers are carried for pleasure or sightseeing purposes around Malta; or (3) in which the pilot in command gives a consideration to the owner of the aircraft to fly the aircraft.

ii Ownership rules

The Operation of Air Services Regulation stipulates the nationality rules for ownership of all or part of an operator. There are no financial or technical capability requirements for owners of aircraft unless they are also the operators of the aircraft in question, in which case the financial and technical capability requirements in the Operation of Air Services Regulation also apply. To this end, in addition to the documents that are to be submitted together with the application form referred to in Section III.i, documents containing information relating to the shareholders, ultimate beneficial owners, directors and funding sources of the operator, as well as details of the AOC held or applied for by the operator, have to be provided.

The requirements for an AOC, as well as for its suspension, variation or revocation, are stipulated in the AOC Act. The power to grant, suspend, vary or revoke the AOC is vested in the Director General. The Director General will grant an AOC, valid for one year, once he or she is satisfied that the applicant is competent, having regard to the applicant's previous conduct and experience, equipment, organisation, staffing, maintenance and other arrangements, to secure the safe operation of aircraft of the types specified in the certificate on flights of the description and for the purpose so specified. In assessing a person's competence to operate the aircraft, the Director General will take into account that person's capability of meeting the relative safety requirements applicable, according to law, to his or her operation of aircraft.

iii Foreign carriers

Flights operated to or from Malta by non-Community air carriers require prior approval or an operating permit issued by the CAD. Before granting an operating permit, the CAD ensures that the services are undertaken in accordance with the traffic rights and conditions prevailing under the air services agreements that Malta or the European Union has signed with the third countries concerned.

Safety

Malta's legislative framework on aviation safety is derived mainly from the regulations and directives issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Nevertheless, the Air Navigation Order (NAO)20 also contains a number of aviation safety requirements relating to mandatory reporting, maintenance, airworthiness and training.

More detailed information on aviation safety in Malta can be found in its State Safety Programme (SSP), which was prepared pursuant to the ICAO International Standards and Recommended Practices and is available on the website of the CAD.

Insurance

The Civil Aviation (Insurance Requirements for Air Carriers and Aircraft Operators) Order (the Insurance Order)21 stipulates that no aircraft is to be flown in Malta without having insurance cover that meets the requirements of the EU Insurance Regulation.22

However, aircraft, including gliders, with a maximum take-off mass of less than 500 kilograms, and microlights used for non-commercial purposes or used for local flight instruction that does not entail the crossing of international borders, shall, in respect of liability for third parties, have a minimum insurance cover per accident of 0.75 million special drawing rights (SDRs). Moreover, the minimum insurance cover required for non-commercial operation of aircraft with a maximum take-off mass of less than 2,700 kilograms shall be 100,000 SDRs per passenger.

The Insurance Order also empowers the Director General to request from any air carrier or aircraft operator evidence of compliance with the insurance requirements stipulated therein. If such evidence is not produced on demand, the Director General is also empowered to refuse permission for the aircraft concerned to land in Malta. The Insurance Order also authorises the Director General to take all necessary steps to detain the aircraft in Malta if the aircraft is intended or likely to be flown in breach of the insurance requirements stipulated therein.

Competition

Competition in Malta is principally regulated under the Competition Act (CA)23 and the subsidiary legislation falling thereunder, including the Control of Concentration Regulations,24 the Immunity from Penalties and Reduction of Penalties in Cartel Investigations Regulations25 and the Mutual Assistance between National Competition Authorities Regulations.26 These laws also implement the relevant EU rules on competition.

In particular, the CA prohibits certain agreements and practices, as well as the abuse of dominant positions, by undertakings within Malta or any part of Malta. It also enables the application of Regulation (EC) No. 1/2003 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (the Competition Regulation) and implements Directive 2014/104/EU on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union.

The exclusive competence to apply the provisions of the CA is vested in the Director General (Competition), who heads the Office for Competition (the Office) within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority, and the Civil Court (Commercial Section) (the Court). Both the Office and the Court constitute the national competition authority in Malta pursuant to the Competition Regulation.

There is no separate legislative framework governing competition in the aviation sector. Hence the legislative framework outlined above applies in this regard. Thus, cooperation agreements between operators are allowed provided that they are in line with Article 5 of the CA. This provision mirrors Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, except that the anticompetitiveness or otherwise of the agreements in question is also assessed in light of whether they appreciably affect trade within Malta or any part of Malta.

Wrongful death

The Civil Code provides that in wrongful death claims the court may, in addition to any actual loss and expenses incurred, award to the heirs of the deceased person damages consisting in the loss of future earnings of the deceased person.

Although Malta does not follow a doctrine of judicial precedent, the formula typically adopted by Maltese courts to calculate damages for loss of future earnings is the percentage degree of disability multiplied by the average salary of the individual concerned multiplied by the number of years of remaining work–life expectancy and, sometimes, applying a discount for the lump sum payment.

If the wrongful death is the result of a wilful act or omission, the damage to be made good will also include any moral harm or psychological harm caused to the claimant. However, the amount to be awarded as moral or psychological harm may not be more than €10,000. See also Section VIII.iv.

Establishing liability and settlement

i Procedure

In Malta claims may be settled amicably (out of court) or through court litigation before the Court of Magistrates (CM) if the claim does not exceed €15,000, or before the First Hall of the Civil Court (FHCC) if the claim exceeds this amount. A right to appeal against a decision of the CM or the FHCC exists. Court actions for damages have to be brought within a period of two years (subject to some exceptions such as in the case of product liability or where the damages arise from an act or omission that also constitutes a criminal offence), but a res judicata judgment in this respect may take several years to obtain.

Where two or more persons have maliciously caused the damage, their liability to make good the damage will be joint and several. Where, however, some of them have acted with malice and others without malice, the former will be jointly and severally liable, and each of the latter will only be liable for the part of the damage that he or she may have caused. Where the part of the damage that each has caused cannot be ascertained, the injured party may claim that the whole damage be made good by any one of the persons concerned, even though all or some of them have acted without malice (saving the right of the defendant to seek relief from the other or the others), in which case the defendant may also demand that all the persons causing the damage be joined in the proceedings and the court may apportion among them the sum fixed by way of damages, in equal or unequal shares, according to circumstances.

ii Carriers' liability towards passengers and third parties

See Section II on the legal framework for liability.

iii Product liability

Product liability is governed by the relevant provisions in the Consumer Affairs Act,27 which transposes the EU Product Liability Directive,28 as well as the provisions on tort found in the Civil Code. The former, which establishes a regime of strict liability, does not exclude or limit any rights or remedies available to the injured party under the latter. The general principle in Maltese tort law is that every person is liable for the damage that occurs through his or her fault and that a person is deemed to be in fault if, in his or her own acts, he or she does not use the prudence, diligence and attention of a bonus paterfamilias.

iv Compensation

See Section VII.

All Maltese citizens have access to primary health care services on the island free of charge while persons issued with a European Health Insurance Card will be eligible for emergency medical treatment for free or at a reduced cost during temporary visits. Individuals incapacitated in accidents may benefit from certain benefits granted under Malta's Social Security regime. These benefits may, depending on the circumstances, include Disability Assistance, Severe Disability Assistance, Increased Severe Disability Assistance, Severe Intellectual Disability Assistance and Visual Impairment Assistance.

The Investigation of Air Accidents Regulations, pursuant to Regulation (EU) No. 996/2010 on the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation, require the CAD to develop a civil aviation accident emergency plan at national level that also covers assistance to the victims of civil aviation accidents and their relatives. The CAD is also required to ensure assistance to the families of victims and survivors of an accident or incident being investigated, by communicating all relevant information in time, facilitating their entry into the country and coordinating assistance efforts.

Drones

The regulation of drones in Malta is based almost exclusively on EU regulations in this respect, these being primarily Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulations (EU) 2019/947 (the Drone Regulations).

CAD is the national aviation authority for the purposes of the Drone Regulations and, in this regard, is responsible for the registration of drone operators and the issuance of a corresponding UAS Operator Registration Number, as well as a UAS Operator Certificate. The CAD is also responsible for issuing the Light UAS Operator Certificate and for issuing drone flight authorisations and conducting remote-pilot licence tests.

All operators operating their drone in Malta must be covered by a third-party insurance policy irrespective of the weight of the drone or the type of operation. This is because all of Malta's airspace is controlled airspace. Moreover, Malta has established several geographical zones in which the use of drones is restricted for environmental, safety or security reasons. These zones include embassies, hospitals, power stations and Malta International Airport.

By means of Act No. XXXVII of 2021 (See Section XI), the definition of the term 'aircraft' in the ARA was widened to include 'unmanned aircraft whose design is subject to certification under the EASA Basic Regulation', meaning that the aircraft registration and security regime established by the ARA also applies with respect to drones.

Voluntary reporting

The Investigation of Air Accidents Regulations impose an obligation on the CAD to promote a non-punitive environment facilitating the spontaneous reporting of occurrences and thereby advancing the principle of a just culture, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 on the reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation. Such spontaneous occurrence reports are to be uploaded to the European Coordination Centre for Aviation Incident Reporting Systems database (the Database).

The Investigation of Air Accidents Regulations also provide that names or addresses of individual persons are not to be recorded in the Database and that the information recorded is to be used solely to facilitate the effective analysis of information on actual or potential safety deficiencies and to determine any preventive actions required. Moreover, spontaneous occurrence reports are not to be disclosed or made available to any other person other than in connection with an investigation or the improvement of aviation safety. Such reports may be made available to any person where that person is a party to or otherwise entitled to appear in judicial proceedings and the court, upon being satisfied that the interests of justice outweigh any adverse domestic and international impact that disclosure might have on the investigation in question or on any future investigation, has ordered that the report is to be made available to that person for the purpose of those proceedings. Notwithstanding this, spontaneous occurrence reports will not be disclosed where a rule of law authorises or requires the withholding of the report or part thereof on the grounds that its disclosure would be injurious to the public interest.

The SSP specifies that the concept of a just culture is not to be used as a way of exonerating reporters from their responsibilities, and that exceptions exist with respect to instances of, inter alia, wilful misconduct and gross negligence on the reporter's part. In addition, a Just Culture Monitoring Group (JCMG) has been established to support the CAD with spontaneous occurrence reporting, and in implementing the relevant provisions of the above-mentioned Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014, among other things.

The year in review

Apart from the impact on the aviation sector generally as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, the Maltese aviation sector witnessed several notable developments in the past year. These included the following:

  1. Act No. XXXVII of 2021 introduced several amendments to the ARA and the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure,29 including with respect to the latter, a new executive warrant of ejection or expulsion from aircraft, which is available to a lessor or a mortgagee against the operator, lessee or other occupants, including any members of their staff.
  2. The Bureau of Air Accident Investigation, a body established under the Investigation of Air Accidents Regulations, published the report on the collision between a Boeing 737-800 under tow and parked fuel tankers at Malta International Airport. The report concluded that the accident occurred because of lack of adherence to standard aircraft towing procedures and lack of training on the part of the tow crew with respect to aircraft operating and emergency evacuation procedures.
  3. The First Hall of the Civil Court acceded (albeit on a provisional basis only) to an application for the issue of a precautionary warrant of prohibitory injunction against an authorised party under an irrevocable deregistration and export request authorisation, which resulted in a delay in the ability of the authorised party to exercise its rights to deregister and export the aircraft in question. The warrant was discharged shortly thereafter on the grounds that it was irreconcilable with the authorised party's rights in terms of the Cape Town Convention.
  4. A deal was agreed with the European Commission to allow an injection of state aid into the national airline, Air Malta, to save it from bankruptcy. Although its financial situation had worsened during the covid-19 pandemic, Air Malta had been facing severe financial difficulties in the preceding years.
  5. Malta launched its Civil Aviation Policy 2022–2030 with the overarching aim of encouraging the continued growth of the aviation sector in Malta in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. The Policy contains five long-term objective areas in the form of capacity building, economic benefits, stakeholders, the legal and regulatory framework, and sustainability, intended to address the current and future needs of the Maltese aviation sector.

Outlook

The government of Malta announced in late 2021 that TM will eventually be split into three different and autonomous entities, namely separate maritime, aviation and land transport authorities. More recently, Wizz Air announced its intention to establish a new airline subsidiary in Malta and register a number of aircraft on the Malta Aircraft Register.

Footnotes

1 Joseph Ghio is a partner and Steffi Vella Laurenti is a senior associate at Fenech & Fenech Advocates.

2 Chapter 503 of the Laws of Malta.

3 Subsidiary Legislation 499.22.

4 As amended by Regulation (EC) No. 889/2002.

5 Subsidiary Legislation 499.24.

6 Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta.

7 Chapter 232 of the Laws of Malta.

8 Chapter 218 of the Laws of Malta.

9 Subsidiary Legislation 499.09.

10 Subsidiary Legislation 378.14.

11 Chapter 378 of the Laws of Malta.

12 Subsidiary Legislation 499.50.

13 Chapter 413 of the Laws of Malta.

14 Chapter 627 of the Laws of Malta.

15 This Act implements the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the General Assembly by its resolution 61/106 of 13 December 2006 that entered into force on 3 May 2008, and which the government of Malta signed on 30 March 2007 and ratified on 10 October 2012.

16 Chapter 9 of the Laws of Malta.

17 Chapter 326 of the Laws of Malta.

18 Subsidiary Legislation 423.51.

19 Chapter 522 of the Laws of Malta.

20 Subsidiary Legislation 499.0.

21 Subsidiary Legislation 499.41.

22 Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators.

23 Chapter 379 of the Laws of Malta.

24 Subsidiary Legislation 379.08.

25 Subsidiary Legislation 379.10.

26 Subsidiary Legislation 379.11.

27 Chapter 378 of the Laws of Malta.

28 Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products.

29 Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta.

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