The Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry (The Registry) is the registry of choice for many owners, financiers, management companies, attorneys and other key decision makers. Stringent standards and a mandate for absolute safety guide our oversight of Cayman registered aircraft. The Registry has been operating as a reputable offshore aircraft registry since the early 1970s and has an outstanding safety record.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands’ (CAACI) dedicated technical team works with aircraft operators on annual plans to ensure regulatory standards and timelines are met and where appropriate, flexibility and customised solutions afforded. The CAACI works closely with Cayman Islands’ industry experts in the legal/ financial and company registration sectors to ensure sound and secure transactions for the initial aircraft registration or changes thereafter. CAACI staff is highly qualified and experienced in regulatory oversight and in working with aircraft management and maintenance organisations to ensure compliance with internationally mandated standards.
The CAACI operates in accordance with a statutory instrument that is predicated on UK legislation found in the “Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013,” AN(OT)O (and subsequent amendments) contains regulations governing the operational and airworthiness requirements of Cayman registered aircraft. Also relative are the requirements contained in the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTARS) as published for all UK Overseas territories.
The criteria for registering an aircraft begins with the compliance/due diligence phase whereby the eligibility of the aircraft owner is determined and compliance with the established anti-money laundering regulations of the jurisdiction is established. Documents are submitted via VP-C Online - the CAACI’s bespoke secured electronic portal which manages applications, authorisations and certificates.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
During the initial application process, the applicant can choose from a list of available registration marks which start with VP-C plus two variable letters. Once the aircraft application is accepted, the second phase of the registration process begins which entails the technical review of the aircraft for initial airworthiness certification and operational authorisations. These processes and subsequent continuing airworthiness certifications are all managed securely within VP-C Online, which allows 24/7/365 access by registrants and those managing aircraft on the Registry. The secured portal also acts as a repository for all technical and supporting documentation for the registration and continuing airworthiness processes for the tenure of the aircraft while on the Registry. Clients will also enjoy the ability to check the status of applications and to re-print certificates or authorisations should the need arise. Clients have voiced that this convenient system makes the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry a preferred choice in registration of aircraft.
Information pertaining to registration of aircraft on the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry can be obtained from the CAACI website at
When examining reasons to register an aircraft in the Cayman Islands, discerning owners and decision-makers find that the Cayman Islands provides a credible, politically stable jurisdiction. As a leading tax neutral international financial centre the English legal system provides owners and financiers of aircraft certainty and confidence. Traditionally a private Register, the CAACI in conjunction with the CI Government and the Cayman Islands ’ Special Economic Zone – Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) has introduced an alternative means for compliance with the ‘Principal Place of Business’ criteria to allow offshore Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to be granted for certain commercial operations.
A SET OF ADVANTAGES
There are many advantages to setting up in the Special Economic Zone. Some of these include:
(a) No corporate, income, sales or capital gains or payroll tax payable by the company or employees in the Cayman Islands;
(b) 100% foreign ownership permitted;
(c) A three to four week fast-track business licensing regime;
(d) Single fee for operation of business within the special economic zone annually, which includes rent, licensing fees and work permit fees;
(e) ‘One stop shop’ administration services;
(f) Easy access and direct flights to the US, Canada and London;
(g) CEC can obtain renewable five year work / residency visas for Cayman-based staff within five working days, irrespective of their country of origin or position they will hold within the company;
(h) There is no maximum limit on the number of work permits a company is allowed; and
(i) A company that is set up within the Cayman Maritime & Aviation City can hire local employees for the Cayman office.
REGISTRATION & FINANCING
The Cayman Maritime & Aviation City offers an exceptional opportunity for businesses in the aviation sector to leverage the outstanding features of the Cayman Islands business environment, particularly where a physical presence is required, for example in obtaining an AOC. This is yet another reason the Cayman Islands is the preeminent jurisdiction for aircraft registration.
The CAACI also works in close partnership to ensure that aircraft registrants have expert guidance on applicable law and procedures. One such example of the CAACI working in partnership with local aviation specialists was evident in 2015 when the CAACI was a member of a local working group that included top aviation finance attorneys along with the CI Government’s Ministry of Financial Services. This group was established to develop enabling legislation to have The Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the associated Protocol on matters specific to aircraft equipment (also known as the ”Cape Town Convention”) come into force in the Cayman Islands. The Cape Town Convention is an international treaty that aims to standardise transactions involving movable property, such as aircraft.
In July 2015, the UK ratified the Cape Town Convention and extended it to some of its territories that had ready and waiting enabling legislation – the Cayman Islands being one of those territories. The International Interests in Mobile Equipment (Cape Town Convention) Law (Cayman Islands) , 2015, was enacted and came into effect on 1 November 2015 accordingly, the Cayman Islands received international recognition under the Cape Town Convention.
The CAACI recognises the importance of aircraft financiers and lessors as key financial intermediaries in the acquisition process. This is a valuable relationship to the CAACI fosters through an insightful and collaborative understanding to the interdependencies of the industry. The CAACI introduced material processes, online portals, bespoke products all specifically designed to support the activities of aircraft lessors. The CAACI is working to establish long-term relationships with lessors that provides ready solutions where aircraft registration support is required with emphasis beyond the registration process. The CAACI’s focus is to offer a Register that efficiently facilitates the transitioning of aircraft between leases, which is supported by highly qualified and experienced full-time personnel. In addition to its existing functionality, VP-C Online is being innovated to include a Lessor Module whereby a lessor can apply for a dedicated account. This account will provide ready access to all of the airworthiness and operational certifications of the various aircraft of a particular lessor which has been registered in the Cayman Islands.
HIGH QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE
With a focus on the quality of service, flexibility, bespoke online offerings, attention to detail and safety, the CAACI continues to strive to set itself apart from other jurisdictions. The CAACI remains committed to offering a personal, responsive and high quality service to their customers, and to finding innovative and efficient solutions to the needs of those they work with.
Director-General of the CAACI, Mr. Richard Smith said, ’With over 50 years of aircraft registry experience, the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry offers total aircraft registration solutions. Our dedicated team is focused on providing aircraft registrants and operators with professional and timely service that we know is of vital importance to their interest’.