Registration of Aircraft in the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands continues to be an attractive jurisdiction to register business jet aircraft, given the straightforward procedures for registration, the competitive fees and the protections available to financiers.
Aircraft registration has been firmly integrated as a key constituent of the Cayman Islands international financial services sector.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) is a globally recognized and respected registry for private owners or management companies with corporate aircraft ranging from Cessna Citation, Gulfstream, Embraer, Airbus and Boeing Business Jets.
CAACI is the relevant regulatory authority, for aviation regulatory oversight and aircraft registrations, mandated by law, to ensure that civil aviation in the Cayman Islands conforms to the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) signed in Chicago on 7 December 1944.
The registration mark ‘VP-C’ is intentionally low profile, which some operators may consider of value when operating in certain high risk or politically unstable territories. Aircraft registered in the Cayman Islands may be operated anywhere in the world, excluding war zones and similar areas.
Osiris provides various registration services including the formation and management of corporate, asset holding vehicle for the registration of an aircraft on the Cayman Islands register.
Why choose The Cayman Islands?
The Cayman Islands is broadly acknowledged as a leading jurisdiction for the registration of business jet aircraft. Owners and financiers alike have confidence in registering aircraft in The Cayman Islands for many reasons, namely:
- The Cayman Islands offer a safe, stable and highly regarded aircraft flag/registration mark
- It is preferred jurisdiction for the incorporation of special purpose vehicles to own aircraft.
- Tax neutral environment – zero tax is payable on the transfer of title to an aircraft
- Exceedingly developed legal system based on UK common law and a stable political government
- System of registration is efficient, based on the British system of registration of aircraft and aircraft mortgages.
- Domestic legislation to protect the interests of financers
- The high standards of the CAACI have resulted in the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry being internationally respected and recognised throughout the aircraft industry. The registration procedure and continuing requirements of the CAACI are highly regarded.
Who can register and Aircraft in The Cayman Islands?
- Commonwealth citizens;
- British protected persons;
- bodies incorporated in some part of the Commonwealth and having their principal place of business in any part of the Commonwealth;
- otherwise unqualified persons residing or having a business in the Cayman Islands.
- In most cases, the applicant will be either:
a Cayman Islands exempted company; Or a company incorporated in another Commonwealth State – commonly the British Virgin Islands (BVI)
In the case of the establishment of a company for registration:
- This company will be established as a special purpose vehicle to hold title to the aircraft and complete its registration in the Cayman Islands.
- Neither the directors nor the shareholders of a Cayman Islands or BVI vehicle need to be resident in the Cayman Islands. The incorporation of a Cayman Islands or BVI company is simple, cost-effective and can be done quickly by Osiris.
What can be registered on the Cayman Islands Aircraft Register?
- Subject to very limited exceptions, the CAACI’s Aircraft Register operates as a “private register”, meaning that the aircraft must not be used for commercial operations – those being used for “hire or reward”.
- It is CAACI policy only to accept registration of aircraft with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) exceeding 12,500lbs / 5,700 kg.
Criteria for Registering an Aircraft
The criteria for registering an Aircraft as provided by the CAACI include the following:
- Submission of an application for registration by the respective individuals or company
- Persons wishing to register an aircraft must prove eligibility and meet due diligence requirements
- Compliance with stipulated CAACI Airworthiness requirements
- Compliance with CAACI Flight Operational Requirements
- Appropriate licensing of Aircrew
- Maintenance Organization Approval
- Radio License Application
- Physical Survey of Aircraft
- Payment of associated fees
- Fees depend on the type of aircraft and its unique attributes.
- Invoices from the CAACI are quoted in Cayman Islands Dollars (CI$).
- The initial issue of a Certificate of Airworthiness will vary per the MTOW (Maximum Take-Off Weight).
- Mortgage registration fees minimum charge CI$1,250.00 – maximum charge CI$5,000.00
Fees as taken from www.caacayman.com:
|< CI $ 5 million||$1500|
|CI $ 5 million – CI $10 million||$2500|
|CI $ 10 million – CI $20 million||$3750|
|> CI $20 million||$5000|
- Application for Registration with CAACI: 50% deposit of the cost of Certificate of Airworthiness to be paid upon submission of application.
- Due Diligence: conducted by CAACI upon receipt of application. The applicant will need to complete a DD checklist and the CAACI may request any further info they deem necessary.
- Registration Marks: The Cayman Islands aircraft registration mark is “VP-C[x][x]”. At the time an application has been made, the applicant may request and reserve a specific registration mark, otherwise, if the application is accepted, the next mark in sequence will be assigned.
- Airworthiness of Aircraft: Once it has been determined that the aircraft is capable of registration on the Aircraft Register, the applicant must submit a request to the CAACI to schedule an airworthiness survey to enable the issue of a Certificate of Airworthiness.
- Deregistration from Existing State of Registry (if applicable): If the aircraft is already registered in another jurisdiction, the CAACI will require an original copy of the Export Certificate of Airworthiness from the aircraft’s previous country of registration, together with evidence of deregistration.
- Once the aircraft has been successfully deregistered from any existing foreign registry, the CAACI can issue a Cayman Certificate of Registration, Certificate of Airworthiness and all associated certification documents.* The average time to register an aircraft in the Cayman Islands is 6-8 weeks.
* Fast Tracking can be effected providing all of the documentation and relevant technical checks are efficiently completed.
International lenders and financiers have noteworthy confidence in using the Cayman Islands for aircraft financing transactions. This is due to the number of legal protections available in The Cayman Islands and the jurisdiction’s creditor friendly reputation.
An aircraft mortgage:
- may be registered with the CAACI on its Register of Aircraft Mortgages;
- will have statutory priority over subsequently registered mortgages and unregistered mortgages; and
- does not need to be governed by Cayman Islands law. The mortgage registration fee will vary depending on the sum secured by the mortgage.