Do Aircraft Registries Impact International Operations?

What factors do aircraft operators need to consider when selecting an aircraft registry? AvBuyer spoke with The Registry of Aruba’s Alexandria Colindres about the potential impact on international operations…

Matt Harris  |  11th March 2019
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Matt Harris
Matt Harris

Matt Harris is Commissioning Editor for AvBuyer. He is an experienced General and Business Aviation...

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What factors do aircraft operators need to consider when selecting an aircraft registry? AvBuyer spoke with The Registry of Aruba’s Alexandria Colindres about the potential impact on international operations…
Alexandria Colindres has worked at The Registry of Aruba for the past six years and holds the position of COO. Handling all aspects of customer development, she also works directly with Aruba’s Civil Aviation Authority, and provides support to the various other departments in order to keep continuous communication throughout the company.
“I have cultivated strong relationships with our clients, team members, upper management and the community,” she explains. “This has resulted in significant increases in the success of numerous projects at The Registry of Aruba, and a stellar reputation in the aviation industry.”
Alexandria Colindres, COO, The Registry of Aruba
Currently, Aruba has over 150 aircraft on its registry, with several more in the pipeline. Popular models at the registry include Boeing BBJs, 737s, Gulfstream G550s and G450s, Embraer 190s and Airbus A320s.
AvBuyer took a moment to talk to Ms. Colindres about the potential impact an aircraft registry could have on an aircraft owner’s international operations.
AvBuyer: Firstly, what are some of the trends that you’ve seen for aircraft registries in recent years? We’ve seen the emergence of a few new offshore registries. Does this reflect a growing need among operators to register their aircraft offshore?
Colindres: Nowadays more and more operators realize the advantages offshore registries can offer – whether in terms of operational flexibility, quality and speed of service. Many of the offshore registries are focused on the Business Aviation market.
Aircraft are not only registered offshore to minimize taxes. The ‘neutral’ registration mark offered by an offshore registry can provide global travel with more confidentiality.
You may also note that many offshore aircraft registries highlight their levels of services as a selling point, and with good reason: they have a customer-oriented, service-focused culture firmly in place and allow for a high level of anonymity, a key selling point for many VIP and VVIPs.
These advantages have created more demand for offshore registration, which has in turn spurred an increase in new offshore registries over the past few years.
AvBuyer: Not all aircraft registries are created equal. Even the most popular have their disadvantages. What are some of the key considerations an aircraft owner should think through when selecting the right registry for their needs?
Colindres: When choosing the right registry, owners must consider the ownership of the aircraft. Who will operate it? Where will its base of operations be? And how will the financing of the aircraft be managed?
Final decisions will likely consider the cost of selecting a registry, and the related tax implications. A registry with a good reputation will also help preserve the resale value of the aircraft. In the end, by taking all of these factors into account a better, more informed decision can be made as to where to register the aircraft.
AvBuyer: What are some of the common problems aircraft operators might face (relating to international flying) if they don’t select their aircraft registry carefully?
Colindres: Each jurisdiction has individual agreements with countries, meaning that not all traffic rights apply equally to each jurisdiction. Using Aruba as an example, due to our long-standing reciprocity relationship with the US, Aruba commercial operators can obtain their Part 129 easily.
Aruban operators can enjoy up to 7th freedom traffic rights to the US, allowing them to execute commercial non-scheduled flights as a result of the long-standing reciprocity agreement between the two countries.
Under our existing Aruba-US open skies framework, when our AOC holders have submitted their applications for Statements of Authorization to the DOT, they have never been denied approval and the DOT officials have been very available and cooperative when it comes even to late notice and approvals after business hours.
The same does not apply for certain other registries who do not hold such an agreement with the US.
AvBuyer: Is it fair to assume the problems aren’t just restricted to access or political matters…? For example, maintenance issues could arise on an overseas trip and security could even be compromised if the appropriate registry isn’t selected.
Colindres: Access to proper maintenance services, especially in the case of an emergency, need to always be on an owner/operator’s mind. Unforeseen maintenance issues could leave the aircraft grounded and this usually translates into lost income.
At The Registry of Aruba, we offer a large network of approved MROs around the globe that can be accessed by P4-registered aircraft easily. If one is not accessible, our experiences team can often expedite one-time approvals for specific non-essential maintenance tasks to get the aircraft up and running, or at least to access an approved facility.
Another issue to consider concerns resale value of the aircraft: 
Having an aircraft registered under a ‘weak’ CAA that has lower technical standards or a lack of oversight will certainly impact the resale value of the aircraft.
In many cases the lessor or the financing agency will require the aircraft to be registered in a state with high safety standards. If those safety standards are not met, aircraft registered in that jurisdiction may be banned from flying into the airspace of other countries (finding their way onto the EU blacklist, for example).
In this regard, Aruba assumes its international responsibility to ensure that all the aircraft it registers meet, or exceed, ICAO Standards – and it has been our mission since day one to ensure that Aruba’s DCA always remains fully compliant with the standards set by ICAO. Consequently, since 1996 Aruba has passed all audits and maintained its FAA Category 1 status.
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