European Specialised Airborne Operations (ESAO) is a Malta-headquartered aircraft operations service provider operating throughout Europe and North Africa. We meet our customers’ specific and diverse requirements by creating custom solutions using our specialised hardware, equipment and personnel.
Our services include:
  • Airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)
  • Aerial survey
  • Flight inspection (FIS)
  • Air taxi and charter (from Q4 2022)
  • Cargo and dangerous goods (from Q4 2022)
plane tail

We are highly qualified and accredited, being Malta’s first operator to successfully gain a Commercial Specialised Operation (SPO) approval from the Civil Aviation Directorate. We are also in the process of further enhancing our capability with the implementation of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) - expected in Q4 2022. These standards guarantee that our fleet operates to the highest level of quality, safety and environmental responsibility.

We provide vital knowledge to government agencies, businesses and other organisations, supporting their security, enforcement, migration, transport and commercial development activities. Our fleet of highly efficient and versatile aircraft is backed by extensive aircraft management, maintenance and engineering capabilities with robust safety systems. All of our operations are underpinned by an independently audited compliance and safety management team.

men operating computers in room

ESAO is a trading name of Sliema-based European SAO Limited, sister company of DEA Aviation Ltd, based in the UK. ESAO was launched in 2018 as part of our ongoing focus on growing and diversifying our service offering - a continuous mission of ensuring the best quality service for our customers throughout the EMEA region.



Working as an extension of your team


Aviation specialists and trusted partner with unique experience


Cutting edge technology


Bespoke services


Strive to make a positive impact
three team members


Our knowledge and expertise span every aspect of technology and aviation, collectively drawing upon decades of experience in both civilian and military operations. The team blends hands-on experience and strategic leadership and governance to provide actionable insight and security for our clients.



We are committed to delivering a sustainable operation, through strong environmental, social and governance principles, evidenced through our business operations and processes.

Companies can only aspire to real and meaningful sustainability through action, and we take immense pride in showcasing our achievements, such as our ISO conformance, as well as our future ambitions.

When crafting our environmental policy, the primary goal was to align relevant change with our core values and ethos. This results in measures that are both progressive and agile. We initially looked inward and found that fuel usage is one of our biggest areas of environmental impact and therefore sits centrally in Scope 1 of our ambitious carbon reduction roadmap.

We therefore only operate modern unleaded platforms and do not consider legacy technology such as aviation gasoline 'AVGAS'. This significant reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, coupled with a design and procedural ethos centred on efficiency, results in the lowest fuel and CO2 burn in the market for each of our unique capabilities. We follow a similar commitment on the ground, with first in / last out office energy saving procedures to hybrid working patterns which reduce commuting time, and improves work/life balance for our team.

When establishing our ESG ambitions, we have found that our stakeholders are embracive, leading to a collaborative approach with the end result being a better solution for all.

To discover how you could achieve more, with less, get in touch.