Every aircraft must be properly registered before it is legal to fly, to ensure they can be monitored and regulated. An aircraft can only have one registration in one jurisdiction - so it is important to make a sound choice where to register your aircraft. Interestingly enough, an aircraft does not necessarily need to be based in the jurisdiction in which it has been registered. In Bermuda, many of the aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry spend most if not all of their time out of the country. The following is a short list of key considerations when choosing a registry for your aircraft.
First and foremost, safety must be at the top of any list when choosing a registry. Make sure that the registry has the highest regulatory standards and an overall outstanding reputation in this department.
2) Intended Use of Aircraft
Whether it's private use, corporate-private use or chartered, may also play a role in your choice. Research the options and be aware of any limitations that will apply to your specific aircraft. For example, certain organizations such as the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency have restrictions on who can pilot aircraft on their registries.
3) Concern for Keeping a Low Profile
For various reasons, some owners prefer to maintain a low profile with their aircraft, and as such, will often choose an offshore registry. This does not mean an offshore registry will not require proper disclosure of certain facts and figures, so if an aircraft owner doesn't want to show the credentials required by the specific governing organization, then it's likely the aircraft will not be able to continue the registration process.
4) Tax Benefits
The tax benefits vary from one country to another and some do offer significantly bigger tax benefits. One country may have no income or profit tax, while another has a corporate tax rate of 10% and no capital or wealth taxes, and a third option offers no corporate or income tax, or VAT. A well-educated financial or tax advisor may be the best sounding board when factoring in the tax implications of where to register your aircraft.
5) Convenience / Level of Service
Some aircraft owners believe it makes sense to register in the same jurisdiction as their other business interests. Others are attracted to the level of service, such as those that use an online, sophisticated registry system, speed in processing and a proven history of resolving any issues that may arise in the process of registration and renewal. Plus their overall reputation internationally must be taken into consideration.
6) Resale Value
If a specific registry has a reputation for failing to adhere to any ICAO standards, this will raise red flags to a potential buyer down the road, and may affect the value of an aircraft if there are any concerns.
Choosing where to register your aircraft is largely dependent on the specific use of the aircraft and several details that could sway the decision one way or another. Before making such a choice, it is wise to seek out the advice from those with the experience and knowledge, such as a specialized aviation lawyer, to make the overall best choice.
The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) meets all the ICAO SARPs and has a long history of excellent regulatory oversight. We have a world-class reputation and our credibility is second to none. BCAA employs staff with the highest levels of experience and professionalism that deliver a superior level of service in a responsive manner.