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The British Virgin Islands is becoming an increasingly popular jurisdiction for aviation finance, not only in the private and corporate jet sectors, but also in the commercial aircraft sector.
Although commercial aircraft are generally not operated out of or registered in the British Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands is playing an important role in the structuring of international transactions to acquire, finance and lease aircraft.
i Registration of aircraft
The British Virgin Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. As such, the Register of Aircraft is governed by a UK statute, the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013 (ANOTO). Air Safety Support International, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom, acts as the oversight regulatory body for the Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom in relation to aviation matters.
Aircraft can be registered in the British Virgin Islands. There are currently only five aircraft registered in the British Virgin Islands, all in the names of locally registered corporations. Requirements for registration of aircraft are fully set out in the ANOTO. This includes who is considered to be a qualified person for registration. Such qualified persons are:
The UK government permits and supports the establishment and running of aircraft registers in overseas territories, provided that:
The register of aircraft forms the official public record relating to the registration of an aircraft and the particulars recorded in it are the only details that are publicly available. All other records relating to the owner, aircraft, etc, are treated as confidential.
The register of aircraft will include the following particulars:
An aircraft registered in the British Virgin Islands can be operated commercially within the geographical boundaries specified in its air operating certificate (AOC). For the issue of an operator’s certificate, the organisation must have its principal place of business in the British Virgin Islands.3
1 Article 16(1) of the ANOTO.
2 The mark consists of five letters commencing with the nationality mark VP-L and followed by the two letters assigned to the specific aircraft.
3 Article 94 of the ANOTO.
This article was first published in The Aviation Law Review.