The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, and Capital Projects announced the implementation of the Civil Aviation Policy for Malta on January 18, 2022, at the first National Aviation Conference for Malta, outlining the Government's plan to promote, develop, and strengthen the aviation industry in the coming years. The Policy is intended to be implemented between 2023 and 2030.
Five long-term strategic policy pillars have been established that not only address the current needs of Malta's aviation sector, but also target areas where further growth and opportunities are envisaged.
Pillar 1: Capacity Building
This pillar focuses on developing and strengthening the relevant structures, processes, resources, skills and abilities within the industry to continue to promote innovation. The main areas which have been targeted are the following:
- Strengthening the regulatory and non-regulatory functions of civil aviation authorities
- Improve inter-governmental coordination where the Aviation Advisory Committee (set up on behalf of the Ministry) shall oversee all aviation business and monitor all stakeholder activities to ensure compliance with international standards and national rules
- Maintain aviation safety and security
- Optimise the use of resources within the airport zone
- Ensure the provision of necessary technical and professional training which will focus on the upskilling of the current workforce and training of new workers, with the possibility of even setting up an aviation institute.
- Advance research and innovation in aerospace and aviation
- Develop a cyber-resilient aviation sector by making further investments in the necessary infrastructure.
Pillar 2: Economic Benefits
The aim of this administration is to consolidate the contributions of the aviation sector in the Maltese economy. The aims set out by this Policy in relation to this Pillar are the following:
- Optimising the economic impact of aviation in Malta by retaining the sector as a competitive and economically sustainable one.
- Synergise aviation with relevant sectoral policies
- Exploit the potential of the aviation sector in Gozo
- Analyse the potential of developing an intermodal hub
- Monitor and contain costs across the aviation value chain
- Promote and support emerging aviation niches such as aircraft leasing, artificial intelligence and digitalisation, Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) and maritime aviation.
Pillar 3: Stakeholder Collaboration
The Policy recognises the various stakeholders involved in the industry. The aim of this Policy is to:
- Facilitate synergy between all aviation stakeholders where through common platforms, stakeholders shall be able to collaborate, discuss and even simulate better coordination and cooperation between themselves.
- Ensure that Air Passenger Rights are protected and safeguarded
- Promote and enhance business development and foreign direct investment so that Malta continues to grow as a jurisdiction of choice for the aviation industry.
- Support general and business aviation by pushing towards further growth in the current facilities and infrastructure through different measures and incentives.
Pillar 4: Legal and Regulatory Framework
The Policy has also targeted the further updating of Malta’s legal and regulatory framework by:
- Enacting effective national aviation law; and
- Updating and consolidating national aviation legislation.
Pillar 5: Sustainability
While environmental sustainability has been a significant part of the international aviation agenda, including at the European Union level where discussions have taken place to make the EU emissions trading system more rigorous to meet the 2030 and 2050 goals and conform to the targets set out in the 'Fit for 55' legislative package, the Government is also focused on ensuring economic and social sustainability. The Policy intends to:
- Ensure the provision of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and introduce a blended mandate for its use
- Make airport operations more environmentally sustainable
- Prioritise flight efficiency by aircraft operators and Air Navigation Service Providers
- Ensure socially sustainable employment in the aviation sector
The implementation of this Policy signifies a major step forward by the Government, as it clearly indicates the Government's commitment to provide a strategic direction and precise objectives for the aviation industry. This Policy works in tandem with other governmental efforts as well as the global visions of institutions and agencies. This strategy is not the only initiative which the Government is taking to help the aviation industry grow, so we look forward to seeing what the future holds.
Article written by Dr Danica Micallef, Senior Lawyer, BDO Malta Legal Team
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