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Airports

Ownership

What rules govern the ownership of airports (both public and private)?

No specific rules govern the ownership of airports, as the need to regulate has never arisen in this area. Malta has only one airport, which the government owned and operated until 2002. Although the airport is now privatised, it is not owned or operated by an air operator.

Operation

What is the authorisation procedure for the operation of airports?

Licensing for the operation of airports is regulated by the Civil Aviation (Aerodrome Licensing) Regulations, under which an operator must obtain a licence. The applicant for an aerodrome licence must submit to the Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) an aerodrome manual and amendments thereto as may be required on occasion. The aerodrome manual must comprise five parts and:

  • be typed or printed and signed by the aerodrome operator;
  • be in a format that is easy to revise;
  • have a system for recording the currency of pages and amendments thereto, including a page for logging revisions; and
  • be organised in a manner that facilitates the preparation, review, acceptance and approval process.

What ongoing operating requirements apply (including obligations relating to safety, security and facilities maintenance)?

The operator of an aerodrome used for public transport purposes must comply with the Standards and Recommended Practices – Volume 1, which lists design and operations specifications for airports, and Volume 2, which lists design specifications for heliports, as well as Annex 14 to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.

Airport charges

What airport charges apply and how are they regulated?

The Airport Economic Regulations established the Airport Charges Regulatory Board, which is responsible for the determination, review and regulation of airport charges, as well as the quality of service provided. The board comprises:

  • a chair, appointed by the minister for transport, infrastructure and capital projects;
  • one CAD representative;
  • one representative from the airport users committee; and
  • one airport operator representative.

The following charges apply:

  • landing charges;
  • night surcharges;
  • aircraft parking charges;
  • passenger service charges;
  • security fees; and
  • charges for passengers with reduced mobility.

Access

What regulations govern access to airports?

In general, anyone can enter an airport. However, the Airports and Civil Aviation (Security) Act requires individuals to possess a written security pass or temporary authorisation issued by the manager of airport security in order to access restricted areas.

Slot allocation

What regime governs the allocation of airport slots (including slot transfer, revocation and disputes)?

Under the Allocation of Slots at Airport Regulations, the allocation of airport slots is the sole responsibility and discretion of a scheduling coordinator who is appointed by the airport operator on the CAD’s approval. However, the scheduling coordinator must:

  • act in an independent, neutral, non-discriminatory and transparent manner;
  • ensure that the air carriers’ requirements are met;
  • ensure that aircraft, passengers, cargo and mail are handled in the most efficient and expeditious manner;
  • monitor the use of slots; and
  • participate in scheduling conferences of air carriers or their representative international organisations, as appropriate.

Ground handling

How are ground handling services regulated?

Ground handling services are regulated by the Airport (Ground Handling Services) Regulations, which implement EU Directive 96/67/EC on access to the ground handling market at EU airports. Under the regulations, airports must ensure that suppliers of ground handling services established throughout the EU have free access to the market for the provision of ground handling services to third parties, subject to certain rules.

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