Words by Simon Williams
Tell us a bit about the registry
As a Crown Dependency of the United Kingdom (UK), the Isle of Man falls within the UK’s ratification of the Chicago Convention. ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices are implemented in the Isle of Man and all information required under ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) is maintained and updated. The Isle of Man was audited by ICAO in 2009 as part of the UK USOAP inspection, performing very strongly with results comparable to United States (US) with long-established Safety Regulatory systems.
From the start of national aircraft registrations and until 1929 the nationality prefix 'M' was chosen by Spain. From 1929 the Spanish civil aircraft nationality prefix became 'EC' and 'M' was unused. Following the Chicago Convention and establishment of ICAO in 1947, ICAO Annex 7 set the display standard and the international prefixes were allocated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
‘M-’ was allocated, with a number of others, to the UK, due to its large number of Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
‘M-’ was offered to the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry (IOMAR) by the UK prior to its establishment in 2007.
The Registry strives to be at the forefront of aviation safety regulation whilst delivering excellent customer service. Safety with service is our ethos. We constantly seek out new opportunities for improvement and continually enhance our services to satisfy the needs of the aviation community. The benefits of the Isle of Man Aircraft
- High regulatory standards
- High service levels and quality international reputation
- The largest, European-based, dedicated private and corporate register Aircraft register
- Neutral Nationality registration prefix ‘M-’
- Competitive Scheme of Charges
- Secure mortgage register
- Cape Town Convention
- No insurance premium tax
- European time zone
- Professional infrastructure with experience in aviation finance
- The Isle of Man is on the OECD ‘white list’ of countries complying with the global standard for tax co-operation and exchange of information
- Clear and simple taxation regime
- Stable legal and political environment.
Is there a weight restriction?
5,700kg Maximum Take-off Mass (MTOM) and above or twin-turbine helicopters. Aircraft between 2,730kg and 5,700kg may be considered for registration if supported by significant economic benefit to the Isle of Man. There is no MTOM restriction for aircraft registered for residents of the Isle of Man.
Which aircraft type certificates are accepted? Eg FAA, EASA, Transport Canada
Type Certificates (and Supplementary Type Certificates) issued by Canada, US, Brazil, EASA or its Member States.
Is there an age restriction?
Are there nationality requirements?
The following are qualified to be the owners of an Isle of Man registered aircraft:
- The Crown in right of the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom or any part of the United Kingdom
- Commonwealth citizens
- Nationals of any EEA state or Switzerland
- British-protected persons
- Bodies incorporated in some part of the Commonwealth or having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business in a part of the Commonwealth
- Undertakings formed in accordance with the laws of the Isle of Man, an EEA state or Switzerland and having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the Isle of Man, an EEA state or Switzerland
- Unqualified persons residing or having a place of business in the Isle of Man Where an aircraft is chartered by demise to a person qualified, whether or not an unqualified person is entitled as owner to a legal or beneficial interest in the aircraft.
- Where an aircraft is awaiting a commercial lease, in addition to the above
- Bodies incorporated in or having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business in any of the states or territories listed below
- Undertakings formed in accordance with the law of and having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business with any of the States or territories listed below:
- Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region)
- People’s Republic of China
- United States of America.
Is there a requirement to have local directors or shareholders?
Do you need to have a local office or physical presence?
What continuing requirements are there to keep an aircraft registered?
- Annual renewal of Certificate of Airworthiness for aircraft with MTOM exceeding 2,730kg up to 200,000kgs – £60 for each 500kg or part thereof of the MTOM. For aircraft greater than 200,000kgs, the fee is limited to that payable for an aircraft of 200,000kgs
- Annual renewal of Certificate of Airworthiness for aircraft with MTOM not exceeding 2,730kg – £100 flat fee
- Flight Crew Licence Validations (initial issue for three years) – £160 ; renewal for three years – £120
- Aircraft Maintenance Engineer validations (initial issue for three years) – £160 ; renewal for three years – £120
- Operations Specification (three-year validity) – various operating approvals in our portfolio, including (but not limited to):
- All-Weather Operations (Approach and Landing) – £950
- All-Weather Operations (Take Off) – £250
- Airspace Approvals (e.g. RVSM, NAT HLA, PBN) – £600 per approval
- RNP AR APCH approval – £2,000 per approach designator
- Electronic Flight Bag – £150
- MEL Approval – £150 (plus review fee at cost)
- Steep Approach (per aerodrome) – £200
- Change of registered owner – £250
- Change of registration mark – £300
- Change of operator – £250.
Use and operation of aircraft
Which of the following are possible:
Commercial air transport/aircraft charter?
Yes, in accordance with the ICAO definition and subject to no valuable consideration given or promised for the purpose of the flight.
What are the requirements for a Certificate of Airworthiness?
Completion of Aircraft Registry application forms by competent persons (continuing airworthiness and operational knowledge will be needed for some forms). Initial and annual survey required to ensure airworthiness (on the day) and confirm conformity with Isle of Man civil-aviation legislation throughout the last year (renewal).
What is the inspection interval for a Certificate of Airworthiness?
Annual survey required for the renewal of the Certificate of Airworthiness, which can be renewed up to 60 days in advance of expiry without loss of validity.
What operational requirements are there?
Operational approvals are available upon presentation of evidence to show that the aircraft meets the relevant certification standards, flight crews are suitably trained and appropriately robust procedures are in place.
Registration costs and service
Are aircraft registered in the name of aircraft operator or the aircraft owner?
An aircraft can be registered in the name of either the legal owner or a ‘charterer by demise’ (dry lessee).
What is the initial cost to register an aircraft?
The initial estimate for registration and initial Certificate of Airworthiness survey, includes reservation and registration of an Out of Sequence registration mark, four flight-crew licence validations, approval of a maintenance programme, airspace approvals (including airspace operating manuals) for RVSM, NAT HLA (MNPS), RNAV 5 (B-RNAV, RNP 5) and MEL Approval. Other operational approvals are available which are not included in this estimate. The estimate does not include the surveyor’s travel time, expenses or airfare if applicable.
Cessna 525B (MTOM 6,291kg) £7,662.50
Embraer EMB-135BJ (MTOM 22,500kg) £10,862.50
Bombardier BD-700-1A11 (MTOM 41,957kg) £14,762.50
Gulfstream GVI (MTOM 45,177kg) £15,462.50
Boeing 737-700 (MTOM 77,564kg) £21,962.50.
What are the annual costs for aircraft registration?
With regard to continuing airworthiness, there will be an annual renewal Certificate of Airworthiness survey required. The estimate does not include the surveyor’s travel time, expenses or airfare if applicable.
Cessna 525B (MTOM 6,291kg) £2,640
Embraer EMB-135BJ (MTOM 22,500kg) £4,560
Bombardier BD-700-1A11 (MTOM 41,957kg) £6,900
Gulfstream GVI (MTOM 45,177kg) £7,320
Boeing 737-700 (MTOM 77,564kg) £11,220.
Annual renewal of Certificate of Airworthiness for aircraft with MTOM exceeding 2,730kg up to 200,000kgs – £60 for each 500kg or part thereof of the MTOM. For aircraft greater than 200,000kgs, the fee is limited to that payable for an aircraft of 200,000kgs.
What is the average time needed to register an aircraft?
Aircraft registration can be completed in one working day. On receipt of fully completed applications, aircraft registration, the initial Certificate of Airworthiness issue and all operating approvals can be completed within a maximum of 15 working days.
How much does it cost to register a mortgage?
A Registry fee of £425.00 per mortgage applies.
Is there a cost to register a priority notice?
A Registry fee of £150.00 per priority notice applies.
Does the registry/aviation authority require a notarised/authenticated document to register an aircraft?
No. However, the Aircraft Registry application forms must be signed by a person authorised to do so on behalf of the applicant. Electronic copies of forms are accepted.
Financing and de-registration
Is there a requirement for a governing law of mortgage?
Mortgaging of Aircraft Order 1972 as applied to the Isle of Man.
What is most common choice of law for financings?
It is dependent on the preference of the lender and other factors. Typically, registered mortgages in the Isle of Man are governed by English, Isle of Man or New York law.
Can financiers file a priority notice of their interests?
Yes. A Registry fee of £150.00 applies.
Can financiers file a Deregistration Power of Attorney/Irrevocable Deregistration Power of Attorney (IDERA)?
Yes. Cape Town became operational on the Isle of Man from 1 January 2018.
Is there a public mortgage registry?
Is it easy for financiers to perfect a mortgage?
Does the registry/aviation authority require a notarised/authenticated document to deregister an aircraft?
What are the requirements for deregistration of an aircraft?
The following are required:
- Form 11, Application for Deregistration signed by an authorised signatory of the registered owner, together with evidence of signing authority for such person. Electronic copies are accepted
- Discharge of registered mortgage(s) (if applicable)
- Revoking of recorded IDERA (if applicable)
- Release of Letter of Undertaking (if applicable)
- Settlement of any outstanding Registry fees prior to deregistration. (Registry Publication RP 12, Export Certificate of Airworthiness and De-registration of aircraft provides additional guidance).
What are the requirements for discharge of a mortgage?
Requirements for discharge of mortgage from the Register of Aircraft Mortgages: Electronic copies of a completed Form 28 (Application for Discharge of Mortgage) and a copy of a deed of release or equivalent document. A Registry fee of £300.00 per mortgage discharge applies.
Has the jurisdiction ratified the Cape Town Convention?
Yes. It became operational on the Isle of Man from 1 Jan 2018.
Which Cape Town declarations have been made?
For full details please refer to the UNIDROIT website: www.unidroit.org
Which insolvency regime has been chosen?
Neither Option A nor Option B were selected, so Isle of Man insolvency legislation applies.
Are buyers eligible for the OECD Aircraft Sector Understanding discount?
We recommend seeking specialist legal advice on this issue.
Importing and exporting aircraft
Are there significant taxes or fees involved in importing an aircraft?
This is not a registration issue, but one of EU VAT and customs. Specialist tax advice is required.
Is an Export Certificate of Airworthiness, license of permit required to export an aircraft?
Not from an Isle of Man aircraft registration perspective Registry Publication RP 12, Export Certificate of Airworthiness and Deregistration of aircraft provides guidance on obtaining an Export Certificate of Airworthiness, if one is requested by the civil aviation authority of the aircraft’s new jurisdiction of registration.
Specialist tax advice should be sought in respect of any physical export of the aircraft from the EU or any other jurisdiction.
How much does it cost and how long does it take to get one?
A survey for the issue of an Export Certificate of Airworthiness can be scheduled within seven working days from application. If an Export Certificate of Airworthiness is requested within 60 days of issuance of a Certificate of Airworthiness an Export Certificate of Airworthiness can be issued without the requirement for a further survey and would be issued with validity from the same date as the Certificate of Airworthiness. The IOMAR reserves the right to perform an Export C of A Survey if deemed necessary. There is a fee of £500 for an Export C of A, and if a survey is required, there will be: surveyor’s travel time; work hours; expenses; and airfares to be charged, where applicable