91 Malta

Two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red. In the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in red. According to legend, the colors are taken from the red and white checkered banner of Count Roger of Sicily who removed a bi-colored corner and granted it to Malta in 1091. An uncontested explanation is that the colors are those of the Knights of Saint John who ruled Malta from 1530 to 1798. In 1942, King George VI of the UK awarded the George Cross to the islanders for their exceptional bravery and gallantry in World War II. Since independence in 1964, the George Cross bordered in red has appeared directly on the white field.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

Comino, formerly called Ephaestia, is a small (3.5 sq km; 1.4 sq mi) bird sanctuary and nature reserve island in the Mediterranean Sea. Between Comino and the adjacent islet of Cominotto lie the transparent cyan waters of the Blue Lagoon, a picturesque bay with a white sandy base and rich marine life. The long and narrow bay surrounded by rock and a bit of sand is almost like a pool, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, or relaxing on the beach.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Malta is a member of ICAO, EUROCONTROL, JARUS, EASA, and the EU.
Last updated on April 18, 2024


According to Britannica, the 1964 constitution, under which Malta became an independent monarchy and parliamentary state, was amended in 1974 to make Malta a republic within the Commonwealth. Malta is currently a unitary multiparty republic. The Maltese parliament consists of a unicameral House of Representatives and is fashioned on the British model. Members of the parliament are elected by proportional representation for five-year terms. An amendment adopted in 1996 guarantees a majority of seats to a party receiving more than 50 percent of the total votes cast in the general election. The parliament appoints the president, who is head of state. The president acts on the advice of the cabinet, which is headed by the prime minister, who is the head of the government.

Local government was established in Malta in 1993. The country is divided into 68 localities, 14 of which are in Gozo. Each locality is administered by a local council elected by the residents of the locality by proportional representation every three years. The Department for Local Government oversees the councils.

Maltese law, which was codified mainly during the period from 1854 to 1873, is largely based on the Napoleonic Code and Napoleonic law. Criminal proceedings and fiscal and maritime legislation follow English common law, but judicial precedent is not binding. Maltese is the language of the courts. Civil and criminal jurisdiction is almost exclusively vested in the Superior Courts and the Court of Magistrates. The chief justice and other members of the judiciary are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

The Civil Aviation Directorate within Transport Malta regulates all aviation activities in Malta due to membership of the following organizations:

  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC)
  • The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

The Civil Aviation Directorate ensures that the Maltese air transport industry, in all its aspects, continues to be developed in a safe and efficient manner in order to serve the island’s needs. The Civil Aviation Directorate has a range of responsibilities and offers a selection of services to ensure the safety of those involved and to regulate all practices. The Civil Aviation Directorate is responsible for:

  • The safety of aircraft
  • Aircraft and aerodrome operators
  • Air navigation service providers
  • The licensing of aeronautical personnel
  • The conclusion of international air services agreements


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ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G. Malta AIP

Airspace Classification

Drone Regulations

Drone Laws



  • EASA has published two regulations governing the use of drones, namely Commission Delegated Regulation (EU)2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU)2019/947.
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU)2019/947 became applicable on 31st December 2020 in all EASA Member States.
  • A summary of the above mentioned regulations may be found here.
  • EASA has also printed FAQs to assist drone users with any questions they may have; these are available on: https://www.easa.europa.eu/the-agency/faqs/drones-uas.
  • For guidance on use of the IDRONECT portal, please refer to the user guide.

Open category

Taken from EASA’s Open Category – Civil Drones – The ‘open’ category is the home for most leisure drones activity and low risk commercial activity. As a drone operator or remote pilot, it is important that you know how to fly your drone both safely and legally. As of December 31, 2020, you will need to comply with the new European drone rules. This is the information you need to enjoy flying your drone in a way that does not pose a risk to any other aircraft or people. This information will be valid wherever you live or fly in Europe.

The ‘open’ category is itself subdivided in three sub-categories – A1, A2, A3 — which may be summarized as follows:
• A1: fly over people but not over assemblies of people;
• A2: fly close to people;
• A3: fly far from people.

Each sub-category comes with its own sets of requirements. Therefore, in the ‘open’ category, it is important to identify the sub-category of operation your activities will fall under, to determine which rules apply to you and the type of training you need to take. Start by identifying the type of drone you have in your possession by checking the class identification label (C0, C1, C2, C3, C4) if it is a new generation of drone (we expect this information to be available from 2022) or alternatively by checking its weight. The table below will give you an overview of the rules that apply to a class of drone. However, we encourage you also to consult the FAQ general provision and FAQ ‘open’ category for more details. These FAQs will take you through all the steps you need to take to be fully compliant and will help you understand the rules that will apply to you.

Since drones which are complaint with the EU regulation and bear a class identification label are expected to be available on the market only later, drones without a class identification label can be used as described in the below table, until January 1, 2023.

Drone Classification

Privately built means that you built the drone for your personal use.
Once drones with a class identification label from C0 to C4 are available on the market, you can operate them as described in the table below:

Ope. Category

If after January 1, 2023 you have a drone purchased before that date, you will still be able use it in subcategory A1 if its weight is up to 250g and in subcategory A3 if its weight is up to 25kg.

Specific Category

Taken from EASA’s Open Category Civil Drones – The ‘specific’ category caters for riskier operations not covered under the ‘open’ category. To operate in this category, you, as drone operator, need an operational authorization from the National Aviation Authority where they are registered, unless the operation is covered by a Standard Scenario.

Standard Scenario (STS) is a predefined operation,\ described in an appendix to EU regulation 2019/947. To date two STSs have been published, STS 1 and STS 2, and they require use of a drone with class identification label C5 or C6 respectively. If the operation falls under the STS and your drone bears this class identification label you are allowed to send a declaration to the NAA where you are registered and just wait for the confirmation of completeness and receipt.

If your operation is not covered by a STS and does not fall in the open category, then you need to have an operational authorization before starting the operation. This provides flexibility and caters for the many types of operations Two alternative approaches are provided for:

• Risk assessment of intended operation : You as drone operator are required to conduct a risk assessment of the intended operation by using the methodology known as SORA (see AMC1 to Article 11 to Regulation 2019/947), or an equivalent methodology accepted by the NAA, and submit the risk assessment and all identified means to mitigate the risk and comply with the operational safety objectives to the NAA. If the NAA is satisfied with the information you provided, it NAA will issue an operation authorization.

• A predefined risk assessment (PDRA) : this is a form of simplification for the UAS operators. EASA publishes PDRA as AMC to the UAS regulation. For a list of PDRAs published so far, please refer to GM1 to Article 11 to Regulation 2019/947 . It is EASA’s intention to publish several PDRAs catering for the most common operations in Europe in the coming years. If the operation you intend to conduct is covered by one of the published PDRAs, instead of conducting a full risk assessment you can follow the instruction in the PDRA and prepare the documentation in support of the application to be submitted to the NAA accordingly.

The Regulation offers also another alternative: the Light UAS operator certificate (LUC) . You as UAS operator may decide to ask the NAA to assess your organization and show compliance with the requirements defined in subpart C to Regulation 2019/947. The NAA may, in varying degree, grant you the privilege to self-assess the risk of its operation and self-authorize it.

We encourage you to consult the FAQ dedicated to the specific category. It will take you through all the steps you need take to be fully compliant. It will also help you understand the rules that will apply to you.


  • The Implementing Regulation mandates the registration of UAS Operators i.e. owners of the drone.
  • The only cases where registration of the UAS operator is not required are:
    – If the drone is labelled as a toy i.e. (toy directive 2009/48/EC)
    – If the drone weighs less than 250g and is not equipped with a recording device such as a camera or microphone
  • Registration is done on tmcad.idronect.com, to obtain a UAS Operator Registration Number together with a UAS Operator Certificate.
  • The UAS Operator Registration Number or corresponding QR-code should be printed and affixed to the drones owned by the Drone Operator.
  • It should be noted that Law Enforcement Officers may conduct checks and ask the Drone Operator to demonstrate that they hold a valid UAS Operator Registration Number and that it is affixed to the drone; and any breaches will incur a penalty.
  • Registration is renewable annually against a fee of €25.

Remote Pilot Licensing

  • The Implementing Regulation requires the licensing of remote pilots, for drones of classes C1-C4.
  • This requires completing online training followed by an online multiple choice test which is done at TM-CAD offices in Lija.
  • Upon passing the test, the candidate is presented with a remote pilot certificate of competency (license) including a remote pilot number.
  • Remote pilot licenses are renewable every 5 years.


  • All drone operators operating their drone in Malta need to have a valid third party insurance, irrespective of the weight of the drone, and/or the type of operation (recreational or commercial).
  • This is due to the type of airspace in Malta, all of it being controlled.
  • Any valid insurance from any insurance provider is acceptable.

Flight Authorization

  • Flight requests should be submitted online at tmcad.idronect.com, specifying the flight parameters including date, time, location, drone etc. This system allows you to see the weather forecast, flight zones which are restricted, integrate NOTAMs, etc.
  • Flights which are low risk and comply with certain pre-defined parameters are authorized automatically, so the Authorization Form can be downloaded and/or printed immediately.
  • Such flights do not exceed the maximum altitude of 60m, do not infringe any no-fly-zones indicated on the map, and are not carried out before half an hour before sunrise and after half an hour after sunset.
  • Flights which are not authorized automatically may require a risk assessment to be uploaded together with the flight submission.
  • It should also be noted that Law Enforcement Officers may also conduct checks to see that drone flights are being conducted as per the parameters in the Authorization Form, and any breaches of the parameters may also incur a penalty.

Model Aircraft

  • In the case of model aircraft, if the model aircraft club/association has an authorization from TM-CAD, then the club may register itself and all its members will be associated with that registration.
  • Otherwise, members of the club are required to register themselves individually on tmcad.idronect.com.
  • If the model aircraft flights will only be conducted within the Ta’ Qali/Ħal Far bubble, for which the club members are already insured, then there is no need for additional insurance. On the other hand, a valid third party insurance will be required for any model aircraft flights outside of these bubble.

Drone Racing and Flying Drones with Goggles (FPV)

  • EASA regulations do not distinguish between FPV drones and normal drones for the purposes of registration.
  • FPV flights may be conducted in the open category without keeping direct eye contact with the drone, provided that the remote pilot is accompanied by a UA observer who keeps direct visual contact with the drone, and who will immediately communicate with the remote pilot to take action accordingly if required. (Article 4(d) of EU Regulation 2019/947)
  • Normally drone races are organized by clubs and associations, which may hold operational authorizations from the NAA covering the organization of such events.
  • Drone races not within a club or association and with no spectators (‘uninvolved persons’) fall under the ‘open’ category and can operate under subcategory A3.
  • If there are spectators, the operation falls into the ‘specific’ category and an authorization from the National Aviation Authority is required.

Permits are issued on the following conditions:

  • Drone operators not holding a valid third party insurance are liable for any damages incurred as a result of their operations.
  • All personnel directly involved in the operations are competent to perform their tasks and the UAS will be operated only by remote pilots with the appropriate levels of competency.
  • Drone operators and pilots should be aware that the collection of images of identifiable individuals, even inadvertently, when using cameras mounted on small drones, may be subject to the Data Protection Act.
  • Drone operators must be aware of their responsibilities regarding operations from private land and any requirements to obtain the appropriate permission before operating from a particular site. In particular, they must ensure that they observe the relevant trespass laws and do not unwittingly commit a trespass whilst conducting a flight.
  • Manned Aviation shall have priority over any drone operation.
  • Rules of the Air shall also apply with other drones in the vicinity as potentially more than one drone operator may be operating in the same area at the same time.
  • A submitted self-declaration or a permit of operation issued by this Authority with the pre-set written conditions are without prejudice to all other applicable laws and regulations and compliance.
  • Permit to fly cannot be construed as a permit to film individuals or property without consent or to transport items by drone.
  • Drone operators must be reachable on the mobile number provided throughout the drone operation, and must ensure that their mobile phone is charged.

Guidance for conducting the Risk Assessment

Initially a generic overview and scope of the intended operation using a simple overlay of the area (using such a tool like Google maps) including the exact points of launching and landing (Latitude and Longitude) of the drone within this operational area

  • Type of drone (or drones) to be used
  • Submission of technical data or manual of instructions of each drone to be used
  • Submission of any flight safety programs or operations manual that the operator may have
  • Submission of any previous authorizations from any other civil aviation authority or exemptions (if available)
  • Submission of details of the operator (company) and proficiency (experience) of the drone pilots
  • Copy of the original signed insurance document for third party liability covering the scope and complexity of the requested operation covering the specific geographical areas/limits for such operation
  • Submission of a risk assessment identifying hazards and the mitigations to be put in place on how to protect aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and property.

Geographical zones

As per EASA regulations, Malta has defined a set of geographical zones which are restricted for environmental, safety or security reasons. These include embassies, nature reserves, hospitals, power stations, correctional facilities, and of course airports and heliports. An overview of these restricted zones is provided below, and an interactive map can also be found on the tmcad.idronect.com portal, which guides the operator as to how to proceed to obtain permission if flying in a restricted zone is required.

Geographical zones

Light UAS Operator Certificate – LUC

Light UAS Operator Certificate is an organizational approval certificate which authorizes the organization to self-authorize operations beyond the Open Category without applying for an authorization from their National Aviation Authority, which is TM-CAD in the case of Malta. The requirements to be demonstrated by drone operators are defined in Part C of Regulation (EU) 2019/947. When TM-CAD is satisfied, it will issue a light UAS operator certificate (LUC) and will assign privileges to the drone operators based on their level of maturity. The privileges may allow the organization to

• Conduct operations covered by standard scenarios without submitting the declaration;
• self-authorize operations conducted by the drone operator and covered by a PDRA without applying for an authorization;
• self-authorize all operations conducted by the drone operator without applying for an authorization.

Further details on the LUC requirements are available in Part C

In order to apply for an LUC, the Organization needs to fill in the UAS Operator Application Form and the UAS LUC Initial Document Review and any manuals referenced in the application (LUC manual, OM, SMM as appropriate). When ready to submit all documents to TM-CAD, the Organization should contact TM-CAD on drones.aviation@transport.gov.mt to request a Centrik account. As soon as the account is given the Organization may submit the LUC application together with all corresponding documentation.

The cost of an LUC application is 2000Eur.


Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone to film in Comino, pictured above.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 3

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 4

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.





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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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