The government is currently in talks with several stakeholders to jumpstart a market in aircraft leasing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Thursday.

Aircraft leasing allows airlines to lease aircraft from other airlines, generally for the purpose of increasing the airline’s carrying capacity without committing to the financial burden of purchasing aircraft.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the first edition of the Malta Aviation Conference and Expo (MACE), organised by the Malta Business Aviation Association.

The government is holding talks with a new company based in Malta called Knighthood Capital with the aim of reaching an agreement on aircraft finance and aviation services. Knighthood Capital is headed by former Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan.

“This isn’t going to be exclusive to any one company, anyone will be welcome to join in on this new industry. We believe that through this first agreement, which we will hopefully reach and can announce in the coming weeks, we will be able to start creating a market,” Dr Muscat said.

Transport Minister Ian Borg also gave a keynote at MACE, saying that in its legislature the government has set out to build a stronger and more agile legislator to transform the island into an aviation hub.

Dr Borg said that Malta was well on its way to reaching its goal of registering 400 aircraft on its register by the end of 2019, with 350 already registered.

Ireland and Hong Kong are primarily the industry leaders in aircraft leasing, largely due to a host of favourable tax regimes and the availability of a highly skilled workforce. Over 60 per cent of the world’s leased aircraft are managed from Ireland and the industry contributes some €550 million yearly to the local economy.

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