Posted Friday, August 13, 2021
Amendments to the Aircraft Registration Act

Amendments to the Aircraft Registration Act, Cap. 503

As of 6th July, 2021 amendments to the Aviation Registration Act have come into force. These amendments seek to bring Maltese legislation further in line with the EU’s “Regulation 2018/1139  on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency”, and to formalise the procedures for registration of aircraft. In practice these amendments add clarity to the procedures in relation to an irrevocable de-registration and export request authorisation (IDERA) and the role of the Director General responsible for civil aviation in respect of such IDERAs. The amendments add to the definition of what an aircraft is for the purposes of CAP. 503. Another change is that the Maltese register is now named the Malta Aircraft Register.

Definition of Aircraft

The definition of aircraft in the Aviation Registration Act now includes unmanned aircraft whose design is subject to certification under the EASA Basic Regulation. An unmanned aircraft is defined as any aircraft operating or designed to operate autonomously or to be piloted remotely without a pilot on board. The amendments also include changes to the definition of aircraft in respect of the provisions of the act regulating aircraft as security for debt.

Clarity as to data required to register aircraft

The Aviation Registration Act has been amended to include more data required of the natural or legal person under whose name the aircraft is registered, as well as data of the natural or legal person having ownership rights on the aircraft. Such data was required in the past, however these amendments have formalised this procedure and provide more clarity as to what data is required.

Recording of Irrevocable de-registration and export request authorisation (IDERA) and Power of Attorney in the Malta Aircraft Register

The details of any de-registration and export request authorisation, or any power of attorney shall be recorded in the Malta Aircraft Register. Where a power of attorney or a mandate shall be granted for a stated period of time after which it shall lapse, such date shall also be recorded in the Register. Only one irrevocable de-registration and export request authorisation or power of attorney shall be recorded, which shall only be issued by the registrant of the aircraft. The Certified Designee in the case of a deregistration or an export request, and the delegate in the case of a power of attorney shall also be recorded. Any de-registration, export request or power of attorney recorded in the register prior to these amendments shall remain valid and enforceable.

Obligation of Director General to consult where corrections are made to the Register or to a Certificate of Registration in relation to IDERAs

Whenever the Director General deems it necessary to correct particulars entered in the Malta Aircraft Register or to correct the certificate of registration, where there is registered in the Malta Aircraft Register, an aircraft mortgage or an irrevocable de-registration and export request authorization, the Director General, shall provide the mortgagee or the authorized party or the Certified Designee, with fifteen days notice of his intent, and shall receive representations. The Director General shall act in such a manner as to protect the status of the mortgage or the irrevocable de-registration and export request authorization, and the rights of the mortgagee or the authorized party or the Certified Designee.

Rules regarding Cancellation of the Registration of an Aircraft in relation to IDERAs

The amendments streamline the procedure for a cancellation of the registration of an aircraft pursuant to a registered irrevocable de-registration and export request authorisation or power of attorney, registered in the Malta Aircraft Register or in the International Registry. Such cancellation may only proceed with the consent of the holder of the registered irrevocable de-registration and export request authorisation or his delegate or Certified Designee or power of attorney. The Director General shall ascertain that all registered international interests ranking in priority have been discharged or that the holders of such interests have consented to the de-registration and export of the aircraft.

Where a cancellation comes into effect, within certain limitations, the Director General may  communicate independently with the mortgagee or holder of any security interest or the holder of any international interest to take all action as is necessary, including extending the validity of the registration beyond the stated deadline, for the orderly closure of the registry and enforcement of the mortgage or other security interest.

Discretion of Director General responsible for Civil Aviation in Malta with respect to exemptions

During the procedure for the issuing of a certificate of registration of an aircraft, the Director General has the discretion to exempt aircraft from bearing the registration marks and, or affixing the fire proof plate. Where such exemptions are granted there shall still be the obligation to submit evidence of title of the owner of the aircraft and evidence that the aircraft has been de-registered from the previous registry. The Director General shall also ensure compliance with EU regulations, notwithstanding any exemptions.

Amendments to the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure introducing warrant of ejection or expulsion.

As of 6th July, 2021 amendments to the COCP have also come into place which amendments have introduced the warrant of ejection or expulsion from seagoing vessels or aircraft on the demand of a lessor or a mortgagee. Such warrant of ejection or expulsion may be ordered upon the operator, lessee or other occupants, including any members of their staff.

written by Paul Radmilli, Legal Trainee 

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