An ever more ro­bust avi­a­tion sec­tor

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

Min­is­ter for Trans­port, In­fra­struc­ture and Cap­i­tal Projects Ian Borg gave the open­ing ad­dress to the sev­enth An­nual Mediter­ranean Busi­ness Avi­a­tion, aimed at con­nect­ing busi­ness avi­a­tion in Europe, North Africa and the Mid­dle East.

Min­is­ter Borg opened his speech by ex­press­ing his pride in the sec­tor, with the num­ber of regis­tered air­craft hav­ing dou­bled since 2012. This means more than 290 regis­tered air­craft, while the num­ber of Air Op­er­a­tor Cer­tifi­cate hold­ers has in­creased from 18 to 35 over the same pe­riod.

Speak­ing about the dy­nam­ic­ity and hard work of the busy avi­a­tion sec­tor in Malta, he stated that even now sev­eral op­er­a­tors en­gage in dis­cus­sion with the Civil Avi­a­tion Direc­torate, ei­ther to in­crease their fleet or to es­tab­lish them­selves as new op­er­a­tors within our ju­ris­dic­tion.

He went on to ex­plain the fac­tors which have led to this on­go­ing suc­cess, which in­clude the in­tro­duc­tion of the Air­craft Regis­tra­tion Act in 2010 and its sub­se­quent amend­ments. These have helped es­tab­lish Malta as an avi­a­tion hub with a strong yet flex­i­ble le­gal frame­work, help­ing Malta along in its process to steadily build up a clus­ter of avi­a­tion ser­vices rang­ing from main­te­nance to fi­nanc­ing.

The min­is­ter also re­ferred to the fact that, since 21 March 2016, Malta has been ben­e­fit­ting from the so-called Cape Town Con­ven- tion dis­counts which can go up to 10% and ap­plies to air­craft fi­nance trans­ac­tions which are sup­ported by ex­port credit agen­cies.

Min­is­ter Borg added that Malta is now also be­com­ing a leader in a broad range of sup­port­ing avi­a­tion ser­vices and looks for­ward to con­tinue ex­pand­ing its al­ready im­pres­sive avi­a­tion clus­ter by at­tract­ing more avi­a­tion com­pa­nies to set up shop in Malta. He stated that 10 years ago, no­body would have thought that the in­dus­try would be where it is to­day and re­it­er­ated gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to en­sure that there are mea­sures which en­cour­age qual­ity and value added to the sec­tor, and not mere vol­ume.

He spoke about the chal­lenges brought about by this suc­cess, namely that there is a larger de­mand than sup­ply of work­ers in the sec­tor. On the other hand, he also ex­pressed his be­lief that the growth of the in­dus­try it­self will cre­ate the skills com­mu­nity it re­quires to sus­tain it­self.

The min­is­ter re­it­er­ated gov­ern- ment’s com­mit­ment to con­tinue fa­cil­i­tat­ing the day-to-day op­er­a­tions of avi­a­tion com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing the op­er­a­tion of the reg­u­la­tor as well as pro­vid­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate in­fra­struc­ture, which both fall within his re­mit.

Min­is­ter Borg con­cluded by ex­plain­ing that the avi­a­tion in­dus­try is far from static and re­it­er­ated gov­ern­ment’s open-minded, proac­tive, re­li­able ap­proach and its fo­cus and com­mit­ment to en­sure that the in­dus­try keeps gain­ing mo­men­tum.

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