Why do I need to register an aircraft?

All civil aircraft must have a nationality, evidenced by the registration of the aircraft with register of the State to which such aircraft belongs (and thereby being issued a "Certificate of Registration")

Like (human) citizens of a State, nationality affords the aircraft the benefits of the transit and traffic rights contracted by the State in which the aircraft is registered, while owing to the State the responsibility of compliance with regulations and requirements established by such State. An aircraft cannot be validly registered in more than one State at any one time.

What does an aircraft registry actually do?

As aircraft registry of a State determines the conditions of registration, it is responsible for conduct and damages caused by an aircraft registered on its registry.

Similarly, it is responsible for ensuring the adherence by the owners/operators of the aircraft on its register of the rules, regulations and conditions for maintaining such registration. Also, certain registries can provide evidence of existence and priority of ownership or security interests existing on the aircraft.

Who oversees aircraft registries?

Typically, a department or agency dedicated to governing and oversight of civil aviation of a State, and which is typically within the governmental agency of a State responsible for the State's infrastructure and/or transport.

Examples: USA - the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Transportation; Korea - the Korea Office of Civil Aviation, a subordinate of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; Hong Kong - the Civil Aviation Department of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; France - the French Civil Aviation Authority, a subordinate to the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, etc.

Can I register an aircraft in two different places?

No. While the registration of an aircraft can change from the aircraft registry of one State to another, it cannot be validly registered in more than one aircraft register at any time.

The terms of the Chicago Convention effectively precludes the simultaneous registration of an aircraft in multiple national/State registries, and no registry system exists that permits dual/multiple registration.

Why does the bank I am using want to use a particular registry?

Based on the transfer of functions provisions of the Chicago Convention, certain national registries are selected based on security/financing concerns, where the financing parties have concerns in respect of a particular register or a particular foreign register provides strengthened security structure in respect of the aircraft asset.

Also, under the Geneva Convention, certain (validly constituted) security interests/claims that are recorded with the aircraft registries of contracting States are protected and prioritised, and such protection and priority will be recognised by other contracting States. To that end, subject to satisfaction of registration requirements, banks/financing parties may choose or require the registration of a secured aircraft with a particular aircraft registry or a short-list of registries.

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