DALLAS – European low-cost carrier Wizz Airlines (W6) is looking to form a Malta-based subsidiary, which it anticipates will begin operations in October 2022 with aircraft registered in Malta.
Malta will become the third location for a W6 subsidiary, with subsidiaries already established in the United Kingdom and Abu Dhabi. They were set up in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
The Malta International Airport is located southwest of the Maltese capital Valletta in the town of Luga. In the most recent pre-pandemic year (2019) Malta International Airport (MLA) served 7.3 million passengers via just under 52,000 aircraft arrivals and departures.
The new subsidiaries have numerous advantages, including allowing the airline to increase its presence in new markets. Malta is also geographically well-suited to act as a convenient hub for traffic flying to Italy, Germany, Spain, the Middle East, and Northern Africa.
A Haven in Malta
There are many advantages to basing an airline and registering aircraft in the small island nation. The website aviacionline.com says that aircraft registration fees in Malta are lower than elsewhere in Europe, and the tax structure is favorable for businesses. The tax laws allow airlines to conduct commercial operations with low tax rates while giving airlines access to the rest of the European Union.
Consultancy KPMG says that “Malta has aimed to position itself as one of the primary aviation hubs in the EU by bolstering its aviation registry. The available aviation legislation provides the aviation industry with a solid foundation. This is further complemented by the competitive aviation registration costs, the authority’s practical understanding of the aviation sector and favorable corporate structures. The aviation framework in place provides a number of benefits to anyone seeking to register an aircraft on the island.”
Malta is also a signatory of the Cape Town Treaty, which creates a legal standard for lease and sale contracts and lowers risks in financing agreements for airlines and airline operators.
Wizz Air Chief Executive Officer, József Váradi said, “We are pleased to announce our intention to establish a new airline subsidiary in Malta. 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 continued, “The successful establishment of Wizz Air Malta later this year will help to reinforce our strong position and support our expansion plans in Europe. We look forward to working with EASA and the Maltese CAA to take this application forward.”
Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA, said, “This will be a new step in the already well-established cooperation between the Agency, the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate and Wizz Air. This new set-up, where one group will operate multiple AOCs based in different Member States, but overseen by the same Competent Authority, demonstrates the possibilities available through the transfer of responsibilities to EASA.”
Featured Image: Alberto Cucini/Airways