Business jets registered
Air Operators Certificates
As of June 2019
Words by Thomas Dunstan
Tell us a bit about the jurisdiction?
Bermuda is a United Kingdom Overseas Territory conveniently located in the Atlantic Ocean between the UK and the US, and although it is regulated by the UK Department for Transport, the safety oversight system is separate from that of the UK. The regulatory requirements are established as the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTARs), which are in full compliance with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Bermuda fosters a collaborative business environment that sees government, industry and regulators working together for the jurisdiction’s commercial success. This culture has created a highly respected financial centre recognised for worldwide standards of compliance, regulation, transparency and infrastructure. With over 90 tax-treaty partners around the world, Bermuda is rated a first-class domicile by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Tell us a bit about the registry
The Bermuda Aircraft Registry is owned and managed by the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA), responsible for the regulation and safety oversight of aviation in Bermuda and all aircraft on the Registry.
The Registry was established as the first Offshore Aircraft Registry and is the largest with over 900 aircraft currently on the Registry.
The current Registry includes a mix of private aircraft and commercial aircraft operated on a Bermuda Air Operator Certificate or under Article 83 bis Agreements. The Bermuda Aircraft Registry has earned a world-class reputation for being safe and well-regulated. With a wealth of experience and credibility in the global aviation industry, you can expect the solution you desire – delivered with the added touch of personalised service.
How can I use my aircraft?
Commercial air transport/aircraft charter:
Unmanned aerial vehicles:
What sort of aircraft do you consider:
Are there weight restrictions?
Which aircraft type certificates are accepted?
ANAC (Brazil), EASA, FAA and Transport Canada.
Are there age restrictions?
Are aircraft registered in the name of aircraft operator or the aircraft owner?
Are there nationality requirements and if so what are they?
To be eligible to place an aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry a person must either be a United Kingdom national, a Commonwealth citizen, a national of any European Economic Area State, a body incorporated in Switzerland or a Swiss citizen, or a body incorporated in any part of the Commonwealth.
Persons or corporations who do not meet these requirements may be able to incorporate a company in Bermuda or in one of the other authorised jurisdictions.
Is there a requirement to have local directors of shareholders?
Do you need to have a local office or physical presence to register an aircraft?
What continuing requirements are there to keep an aircraft registered?
The aircraft must be maintained in an airworthy condition and meet all Bermuda airworthiness and flight operations requirements. Aircraft can also be placed on our storage register.
Inspections and CoAs
What are the requirements for a Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA)?
Visit www.bcaa.bm for details on airworthiness requirements.
What is the inspection interval for a Certificate of Airworthiness/how often does the registry inspect aircraft?
Normally the interval is 12 months. BCAA does have a programme of risk-based oversight and many aircraft are eligible for a 24-month interval between inspections.
What operational requirements are there?
Visit www.bcaa.bm for details on operational requirements.
How many airworthiness inspectors does the registry have?
There are seven Airworthiness Inspectors in addition to 25 Designated Airworthiness Inspectors.
Where are the inspectors based?
Airworthiness Inspectors are based in offices in Bermuda and the UK. This Airworthiness team is complemented by more than 25 Designated Airworthiness Inspectors who are strategically located throughout the world including Argentina, Bermuda, Canada, China, France, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, UK and the US.
In addition, BCAA has for many years engaged Bureau Veritas (BV) to conduct inspections and oversight on its behalf, from offices based in Moscow, Toulouse and Shanghai.
Flight Operations Inspectors based in Bermuda are joined by Designated Flight Operations Inspectors in strategic locations worldwide.
Registration costs and service
What is the initial cost to register an aircraft?
The cost of the Certificate of Registration (CofR) is included in the cost of the CofA.
What are the annual costs for aircraft registration?
There are no annual costs for registration.
What is the average time needed to register an aircraft?
The average amount of time depends on the completeness of data and documentation submitted. Allow five working days, but quite often it is done in much less time.
How much does it cost to register a mortgage?
The costs are minimal and depend on the amount of the mortgage.
Is there a cost to register a priority notice?
Does the registry/aviation authority require a notarised/authenticated document to register an aircraft?
Financing and de-registration
Is there a requirement for a governing law of mortgage?
The mortgage itself need not be governed by Bermuda law.
What is most common choice of law for financings?
It is often governed by English law or New York law.
Can financiers file a priority notice of their interests?
Can financiers file a Deregistration Power of Attorney/Irrevocable Deregistration Power of Attorney (IDERA)?
Is there a public mortgage registry?
Yes there is a mortgage registry which is governed by the Bermuda Mortgaging of Aircraft and Aircraft Engines Legislation. Mortgage registry information is available to the public on request to BCAA.
Is it easy for financiers to perfect a mortgage?
Does the registry/aviation authority require a notarised/authenticated document to de-register an aircraft?
What are the requirements for deregistration of an aircraft?
Prior to de-registering an aircraft, the BCAA requires the following:
- A certified resolution from the company signed by a director agreeing to the sale of the aircraft and requesting that the aircraft be removed from the Bermuda Register
- If there is a mortgage registered against the aircraft, the aircraft cannot be removed from the Bermuda Register of Aircraft until written authorisation or proof that the mortgage has been discharged has been received from the relevant parties. If a request is received to de-register the aircraft but leave an existing undischarged mortgage in place, all relevant parties must provide signed documentation agreeing to this
- If the State of import requires an Export Certificate of Airworthiness BCAA will conduct an inspection and there is a charge for this service. If no Export Certificate of Airworthiness is required, there is no charge for the de-registration process
- All outstanding fees owed to BCAA are to be paid
- Once final written confirmation has been received from the company, BCAA will send a letter of de-registration to the Civil Aviation Authority of the State where the aircraft will be registered.
What are the requirements for deregistration of mortgage?
A completed, dated and signed mortgage discharge application must be received from the mortgagee.
Judgements and arbitration
Has the jurisdiction ratified the Cape Town Convention?
What date did it come into affect?
1st January 2018.
Importing and exporting aircraft
Are there significant taxes or fees involved in importing an aircraft?
Is an Export Certificate of Airworthiness, licence of permit required to export an aircraft?
Bermuda does not mandate the issue of an Export Certificate of Airworthiness but will issue one if requested.
How much does it cost to get an Export CoA and how long does it take to get one?
Cost is based on the MTOW of the aircraft and can be completed in a matter of days, depending on availability of the aircraft for inspection.
Are there significant taxes or fees involved in exporting aircraft?
Aircraft Operating Certificates
Have there been any recent legislative changes or significant cases that owners or financiers should be aware of?
The introduction of the Cape Town Convention in Bermuda in January 2018.
Will a court in this country recognise and enforce a judgement rendered by a New York State Court or a US federal judge?
Yes, subject to review of the judgement by the courts of Bermuda.
Will a court in your jurisdiction recognise and enforce a judgement rendered by an English court?
Yes, subject to review by the courts of Bermuda.
Are there any recent cases where the aviation authority/aircraft registry has refused to honour a request by an owner or lessor to deregister an aircraft?
Are any legislation or regulatory changes planned?
Not at this time.
Aircraft Operating Certificates
Are AOCs encouraged, how long does process take?
The requirements for obtaining an AOC are outlined below.
What is the process for obtaining an AOC?
The process for obtaining an AOC is fully aligned with ICAO requirements. BCAA will grant an air operator’s certificate to an operator, having its principal place of business in Bermuda, upon being satisfied that the applicant is competent to secure the safe operation of aircraft of the types specified in the certificate. Details for obtaining an AOC may be found on the BCAA website – www.bcaa.bm/commercial-aoc-operations.
What are the nationality requirements for an AOC?
There are no nationality requirements for obtaining an AOC. How long does the process normally take? From receipt of completed application form and supporting documentation an AOC can be issued within 90 days.
What post or roles need to be based in the country?
The definition for principal place of business outlines the required post holders who are to be based in Bermuda. The principal place of business means the primary location from which flight operations and maintenance management and control are exercised; where the majority of the operational and safety-related records are kept and at which accountable managers are based