Over the past 10 to 15 years there has been a steady growth in the use of smaller aircraft registries by business aircraft owners and operators, with the registries being based all over the world–from Aruba to San Marino. ABACE 2018 sees no fewer than five participating in the annual event, including a panel discussion at 1330 today (in Meeting Room 2).
Located near the northwest corner of Venezuela, Aruba has been part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1815 and obtained autonomous status in 1986. Along with its team in Aruba, the registry (Booth P212) also has a dozen employees at its headquarters in Miami and a global network of aircraft inspectors. Most new clients can get their aircraft inspected at their base location, according to chairman and founder Jorge Colindres.
Colindres told AIN the strong legal system and good standing of Aruba ensure assets registered in the country, such as private jets and aircraft engines, maintain their value. The Registry of Aruba was the first offshore aircraft registry to ratify the ICAO Cape Town Convention (in 2010).
It was Wayne Hilmer, then-chairman of Omni International, who urged Colindres to start the Registry of Aruba. The two met in Miami while Colindres was an attaché in service of the Honduran navy. At the time, there were only two other reputable aircraft registries, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, catering to the VIP aircraft market.
Colindres recounted, “He told me this: ‘Remember, chief, everyone does what we’re doing, but we have to do it better.’” This has been his motivation for every decision regarding the registry: running it like a private business, embracing technology, offering registration by domicile, etc.
Aruba was one of the first to registries to incorporate digital tools into its workflow. Its Aircraft Registration Management System (ARMS) allows the registry to electronically manage all registered aircraft, operators, and documentation.
Clients have access to their own ARMS portal and can easily view all current records, airspace approvals, and validations for each aircraft they manage.
The registry’s team is developing a mobile app for ARMS.
The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA, Booth H1123) announced on the eve of ABACE 2018 plans to open a full-time office in Hong Kong in the coming months to make its services more available to the Asia market.
“Opening an office in Hong Kong is part of an overall effort to ensure that we are putting our clients at the center of everything we do,” said Thomas Dunstan, BCAA director general. “There are many offshore registries that offer some unique advantages, so it’s our job to make Bermuda the more attractive option.” Dunstan cited the “trusted relationship” with partners and “focus on making the process of registering aircraft easier and more efficient” as distinguishing characteristics of its offering.
The planned Hong Kong office complements the registry’s new UK office, relocated last September from London to Farnborough Airport. The relocation allows for additional airworthiness inspectors, according to BCAA, providing “excellent response times to clients in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.” Located in Farnborough’s main terminal building, the new office also enables short-notice aircraft inspections and certificate of airworthiness issue during a turnaround or layover.
Since it was created in 1931, BCAA has registered close to 2,000 aircraft, with 800 on its current rolls.
At the Corporate Jet Investor London conference earlier this year, BCAA suggested that there was a need in Asia for a private aircraft registry.
Last September 2017 the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI, Booth H1130) announced the government had backed the creation of the Cayman Maritime and Aviation Services Park to attract “specialist aviation companies from around the world.”
The reinvigorated zone within Cayman Enterprise City was launched at NBAA 2017 in Las Vegas last October. This includes a new option for offshore commercial air transport operations, including charter operations.
Before that the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry was limited to onshore commercial operations—Cayman Airways, Cayman Express, and Cayman Islands Helicopters—as well as onshore and offshore private aircraft.
“Over the years the CAACI has established a credible and reputable aircraft registry for the jurisdiction, with the primary focus being private/corporate aircraft that are operated globally,” CAACI said. “This development offers the opportunity for global commercial air transport operators [i.e., charter operators] to also be associated with a sound aircraft registry for regulatory oversight of its operations.”
Isle of Man
Although not exhibiting at ABACE this year, the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry will be exhibiting at EBACE in May. Director of civil aviation Simon Williams will be taking part in today’s aforementioned panel discussion. The Registry and the island are reeling from having to handle a very poorly put together television documentary by the BBC’s Panorama program last year–most in the industry AIN has spoken with expressed shock at the lack of research, with much of the information being misleading and “sensationalized.” For example, the island is not home to hundreds of business jets, with M-registered aircraft being located all around the world–a deduction made by researchers for UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and repeated in the UK Parliament by him. In addition, as Williams is keen to point out, the Registry has nothing to do with taxation but only safety oversight.
On a visit to the island last month AIN visited Williams at the Registry’s new offices at Ronaldsway, the island’s airport. Williams continues to build on the work done by Brian Johnson in founding the registry in 2007. Incorporating all the requirements of ICAO Annex 6 Part 2 has placed the Isle of Man “ahead of a number of leading jurisdictions,” according to the Registry, while Williams’s team has almost completed a project to “repatriate” powers to create secondary legislation, from the UK.
“The vision is for the Isle of Man to truly become a center for aviation excellence," he said, "at the forefront of aviation regulation and incorporating best practice from around the world.” Williams professes to focus on quality of service, not quantity of aircraft on the register. The Registry, which has just become a member of AsBAA, recently completed its 1,000th registration–of an Asia-Pacific-based Gulfstream G650ER. with removals, that leaves some 430 on the register.
The 2-Reg Aircraft Registry (Booth P813) started operations in December 2013. Based in Guernsey, a British Crown Dependency (similar to the status of the Isle of Man), it is thereby independent from the United Kingdom and outside the European Union. The 2-Reg Aircraft Registry offers a full scope of regulatory services to support all aircraft types for private, corporate, and commercial operations. With aircraft based anywhere in the world, 2-Reg is supported from permanent offices in Guernsey, Amsterdam, and Singapore. "Using the prefix 2-, followed by four letters, 2-Reg offers selected registration marks to customers," said the registry, "which enables the customer to personalise their aircraft."
At last year's ABACE, 2-Reg surprised visitors by announcing Hongkong Jet would place Deer Jet's Boeing BBJ787-8 on its new Guernsey AOC, the aircraft being registered 2-DEER.