Malta is a small island in the centre of the Mediterranean with a population of less than 400,000 people, famous for its sun, sea, history and culture. Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and at the start of 2008 became part of the Eurozone, as Malta adopted the Euro. As the manufacturing industry sought greener pastures in Eastern Europe and the Far East, and with the emerging tourist markets again in Eastern Europe giving Malta a good run for its money, Malta had to seek alternative sectors wherefrom to attract foreign investment.
An island bereft of any natural resources, except for maybe its weather, Malta betted on the service industry, especially in information and communication industries. One such success was becoming the first European country to offer a license to online gambling sites, similar in regards to the yacht register and call centres.
Malta has two major advantages on the rest of Europe; a. its tax infrastructure and b. the language. The former was an important part of Malta's negotiation for the accession into the EU, whereby the Maltese government based on the island's socio/economic standing with respect to the rest of the EU successfully negotiated a very favorable tax rate for foreign investment in the island, where in effect a foreign shareholder was taxed at only 5-percent on the revenue. The latter being the language, which Malta wisely had after its independence from the UK in 1964, kept the English language as its national language together with Maltese, which means that all of Malta's laws are in both Maltese and English and the whole population is fluent in the English language.
Which brings us to what is probably one of Malta's best kept secrets to date. As the business jet owners community continued to increase on the European continent, and with ever stringent regulations for the operation of such business jets especially in Europe, Malta affords the opportunity to business jet owners to register their aircraft, management companies to obtain world recognized JAA/EASA operating license from an English speaking EU country, with a 5-percent tax rate and double taxation with agreements with most EU countries, low labor cost, and amongst the lowest authority fees in Europe.
With support of the Maltese Government and the Department of Civil Aviation, it is only a matter of time before Malta becomes renowned for the safest, yet cheapest business jet operating license infrastructure in Europe. Malta should have the first non-Maltese owned but Maltese registered aircraft and operating licenses as early as the first half of 2008. If you are a business jet owner, Malta offers probably the best European tax infrastructure and lest we forget best weather all year round in Europe.
By Stanley Bugeja
CEO of Sierra Aviation
, is the islands only dedicated aviation company providing comprehensive FBO services and a full suite of aircraft management, and charter solutions.