Challenge Airlines MT receives AOC

The tailplane of a Challenge Airlines aircraft.
Photo Credit: Challenge Airlines

LONDON – Challenge Airlines MT, the Maltese subsidiary of the Belgian Challenge Airlines, has received its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) on November 2.

Air Operators Certificate

“A Challenge shared is a challenge halved – or, in this case, now shared amongst three strong players!” says Mauro Porta, Accountable AOC Manager at Challenge Group.

“It is the day we have long been waiting for: our new Maltese airline, Challenge Airlines MT, has finally received its AOC and can now officially participate in the many challenging opportunities that are entrusted to the Challenge Group!”

The Maltese subsidiary of Challenge Airlines will be operating a fleet of 2 Boeing 767-300ER, with a payload of 60 tons each, while they already have a pool of 10 pilots at their disposal, ready to fly all the specific routes out of the Group’s hub and Europe’s largest all-cargo airport, Liege (LGG), Belgium.

The anticipated freight those planes will carry will likely be a mix of perishable, pharma, and sea-air connections in the short-term, broadening out to include high-yield long-haul shipments such as e-commerce and the Group’s known expertise: horses, cars & engines in the long-term.

“With the official presentation of our AOC, Challenge Group is ready to implement its carefully thought-out network service,” Or Zak, Commercial Vice President of Challenge Group, reveals. As with Challenge Group’s two other airlines, Challenge Airlines MT will operate regular services between Liège (LGG), Tel Aviv (TLV), Sharjah (SHJ), John F- Kennedy New York (JFK), and Mumbai (BOM).

Captain Charles Pace stated that the Civil Aviation Directorate was extremely pleased with the inclusion of Challenge Group to the 9H list. “Challenge Group has been present in Malta for some time now and they have presented us with an exciting plan for the coming months.”

He thanked the team from CAD led by Ing Connie Di Cesare, the Nominated persons from Challenge, and the management who selected Malta for this ambitious project. “We look forward to the coming months to see the company grow and add additional aircrafts to its fleet.”

Challenge Group is very honored and grateful to Malta’s Civil Aviation, especially to Captain Charles Pace and his team, for their support, advice, and cooperation throughout the certification process.

Challenge Airlines MT took its first unconverted B767-300(ER), 9H-CAD (MSN 30301), in mid-September 2022. The aircraft was used for the certification process and subsequently ferried to Leipzig/Halle on October 6, 2022, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows.

It remains under maintenance at the German hub for the time being. A second unit of the type, N899MF (MSN 25588), is currently under conversion at Belgrade.

Tax minimisation

We all know that the Maltese taxations are so low that many airlines, such as Ryanair with its subsidiary Malta Air and Lauda Europe, Corendon Airlines Europe, Hi Fly Malta, and Air X Charter, have based their headquarters in Malta.

This doesn’t seem like a bad deal until the realization kicks in that these companies aren’t there to help the economy of Malta, but rather to have a base of operations where they can funnel their money through to pay as little taxation as possible.

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