Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air announced that it will apply for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in Malta to open a subsidiary airline and offer services in the country.
According to the information provided, the decision is based upon the conclusion of the «Arrangement on Reallocation of Responsibility», signed today between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Malta Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD). In addition to the certificate to be issued by the European authority, the airline will require a Maltese Operating License.
If the permits are obtained, Wizz Air Malta could start operations in October 2022 with aircraft registered in that state. Malta is attractive for airlines: aircraft registration costs are lower than in other European countries and the tax regime favors the establishment of companies.
Revenues from the international transport of goods and passengers outside the country are tax exempt and airlines based in Malta have free access to other EU member states. As a result, commercial operations can be carried out with exceptionally low taxation. Therefore, many airline operators are based in such a small territory.
For Wizz Air, the opening of the Maltese subsidiary also makes sense from a strategic point of view: the location in the center of the Mediterranean would allow it to establish a convenient base of operations there to fly to countries such as Spain, France, and Germany, as well as offering connections to North Africa.
«We are pleased to announce our intention to establish a new airline subsidiary in Malta» said József Váradi, the airline’s CEO. «Wizz Air is constantly evaluating the structure of its business and exploring options to establish new AOC’s and bases in Europe and beyond», he added.
For his part, Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA, maintained that the initiative signifies «a new step in the already well-established cooperation between the Agency, the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate and Wizz Air». He noted that the company’s model, consisting of bases in different European Union countries but overseen by the same regulatory authority, «demonstrates the possibilities available through the transfer of responsibilities to EASA».
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