Aircraft Purchase: Aircraft Registration

An aircraft can of course be registered on the register of the country it's based in. However, there are many benefits to having it registered on the USA register or other unique registers, such as in Bermuda or Cayman Islands.

Generally speaking, we encourage our clients to have their aircraft put onto the USA register. By doing so, they generally save lots of money during the course of the year due to many different regulatory requirements between for example the UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and the American FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

Another important reason for choosing the American register is, that it is much easier to find suitable crew members as the majority of Executive Jets around the world are American registered, thus crews hold FAA licenses.

The general rule is that only US citizens and green card holders can own American registered aircraft. However, there are three exceptions to this rule:

1. Foreign corporation - if the aircraft will be flown at least 60% of its flight time in America it can be registered to a US corporation which is foreign owned provided that regular returns are filed with the FAA proving its flight time in America.

2. Owner Trust - If the aircraft is settled in trust with a US trustee it may be beneficially owned by a foreign person or company.

3. Voting Trust - If a US corporation is structured so that not less than two thirds of the Directors and Officers are US citizens and not less than 75% of the voting rights in the shares of the corporation are settled in trust then that corporation can be the registered owner of a US aircraft and may be owned by a foreigner.

For our clients, we generally go for option number TWO above. Our associated Aviation Legal Team will set up on your behalf a Delaware Owner Trust thus allowing us to put your aircraft on the American register.