FAA Extending Aircraft Registration Period to Seven Years

 - November 17, 2022, 3:34 PM
While Congress directed the FAA to extend the aircraft registration period for noncommercial general aviation aircraft, the agency said it is not practical to delineate between noncommercial and commercial aircraft and therefore is extending the timeframe for all aircraft to seven years. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The FAA is releasing a rule next week that will extend the duration of aircraft registration certificates from three years to seven years. According to the draft of the direct final rule, aircraft owners will be required to confirm their registration information and renew their certificates every seven years unless an event or circumstance requires a new registration before that time. If the agency determines that the registration information is inaccurate, an owner may be required to submit new registration forms.

In addition, the direct final rule further addresses a few other areas surrounding aircraft registration, including removing a requirement that the agency issue a letter extending temporary authorization if a registration has not been issued or denied within 90 days of the application. It also removes obsolete regulations addressing re-registration.

The agency in 2010 mandated that aircraft owners re-register their aircraft every three years. Before then, the registration period was indefinite, but with the stipulation that owners keep their registrations up-to-date. However, the agency found that owners failed to do so, creating numerous outdated registrations and raising concerns of law enforcement and other government agencies.

But in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, Congress directed the agency to extend that three-year period to seven for noncommercial general aviation aircraft. The FAA, however, said it cannot distinguish between commercial and noncommercial general aviation aircraft and added, “It is impracticable to have different durations for commercial and noncommercial general aviation aircraft registrations. Therefore, the FAA is extending the registration duration for all aircraft to seven years.”

The rule will apply to existing registrations—one issued in 2020 will now expire in 2027, for instance—as well as new issuances.

While the agency has opted for a direct final rule, rather than the more traditional and time-consuming notice of proposed rulemaking process, it will accept comments for 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The rule is to take effect 60 days after publication.

NBAA praised the rule, saying not only will it will help expedite FAA’s approvals with a reduced workload but also expands authority for aircraft owners to operate beyond the registration renewal date from 90 days following expiration to 12 months, giving a buffer from any delays in renewals stemming from an agency backlog.

“We applaud the FAA for hearing our concerns over the current requirements and making this change,” said Brian Koester, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations. “The new rule comes with tangible benefits that will help drive convenience and efficiency for business aircraft owners.”