Dubai business aviation services provider Empire Aviation (EAG) is expanding its international focus following its award, in early September, of an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the San Marino Civil Aviation Authority.

This is the first AOC to be granted to a Middle Eastern operator by the tiny European republic, situated on the Italian peninsula.

“We are looking to grow our operation outside the United Arab Emirates,” says EAG executive director Paras Dhamecha. “We evaluated several [jurisdictions] for our new AOC, but opted for San Marino as it permits worldwide commercial air operations, regardless of where the aircraft is based.”

This is in contrast to the UAE, where more than half of EAG’s 25-strong fleet of mainly high-end managed business jets is located. “UAE-registered aircraft cannot be based outside the country and this too restrictive,” explains Dhamecha.

“Other registries that are popular with our owners are Bermuda, Cayman and the Isle of Man, but these are limited to privately-operated aircraft.” More owners are looking to get an income from their business jets by chartering their excess capacity, “so we need a registry with full flexibility”, he says.

EAG has established a subsidiary in San Marino, which will oversee the operation. One T7-prefixed aircraft – a Dassault Falcon 7X – has been added to the AOC, and others are expected to join the long-range tri-jet over the next 12 months, says Dhamecha.

Source: Flight International