Aircraft Registration & Transactions

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  • Aircraft Transactions Guide

    Aircraft Transactions Guide

    Provides an introduction to the regulatory, tax, financial and transactional issues that come together during an aircraft acquisition. Learn More

  • Ethical Business Aviation Transactions

    Ethical Business Aviation Transactions

    A formal statement from NBAA's leadership outlining best practices for buyers and sellers of business aircraft products and services Review the statement

  • Cape Town Convention

    Cape Town Convention

    The Cape Town International Registry protects financial interests in aircraft and engine transactions. If certain criteria are met, domestic and international aircraft and engine transactions are subject to the registry. Learn More.

  • Like Kind Exchange

    Like-Kind Exchange

    Under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, gains from the exchange of like-kind properties may be exempt from taxation. Learn More.

  • Non-Citizen Trusts

    Owner Trusts

    Details on registration of aircraft to U.S. citizen trustees in situations involving non-U.S. citizen trustors and beneficiaries. Learn More.

  • U.S. Registered Foreign Civil Aircraft (Part 375)

    U.S. Registered Foreign Civil Aircraft (Part 375)

    Part 375 of the Department of Transportation regulations restricts the operation of foreign civil aircraft including both foreign registered aircraft and U.S. registered aircraft owned, controlled, or operated by non-U.S. citizens. Learn More

News Items

Business Aircraft Import/Export: Seeing the Big Picture
March 18, 2018
Not only are business aviation operations now global, but aircraft transactions often occur across borders as well. Buying or selling aircraft can be a challenging process even when two U.S.-based parties are involved. Adding the cross border aspect to the process further complicates the transaction. For more on what aircraft buyers and sellers need to know, read the March/April 2018 edition of Business Aviation Insider, the International Issue.
3 Things to Know About NBAA’s Ethics Statement
Jan. 11, 2018
NBAA recently published "Ethical Business Aviation Transactions," a resource outlining best practices for ethical transactions involving business aircraft products and services. "The NBAA ethics statement deals with industry transactions," said Jad Donaldson, NBAA Business Aviation Management Committee chair and director of aviation at Harley-Davidson Motor Co. "Company policies may deal with broader ethical concerns, like bribery or use of company resources, so the NBAA statement is not designed to supersede previously written ethics policies." Instead, the ethics statement should be seen as a general statement of industry best practices. Learn more.
What Are Non-Citizen Trusts? A Routine, Well-Regulated Way to Register Aircraft
Nov. 30, 2017
Recently, a German newspaper published a set of documents leaked in a data breach at Appleby, an international law firm. In news coverage of the documents, now known as the “Paradise Papers,” some media outlets have focused on a common structure for registering aircraft: non-citizen trusts. Although portrayed in some articles as exotic arrangements, non-citizen trusts have been used for decades by many well-known companies, including major airlines and leasing companies, to register aircraft with the FAA. Read more about the use of non-citizens trusts.
FAA Realigns Flight Standards for Consistency, Agility
Sept. 13, 2017
The FAA recently began a service-oriented effort to change the culture of its Flight Standards organization. The initiative, named the Future of Flight Standards, aims to facilitate critical thinking, interdependence and consistency to better serve aviation safety. "Part 91 operators have increasingly more contact with local inspectors for a number of reasons, including requesting letters of authorization and other operational requests," said Doug Carr, NBAA's vice president of regulatory and international affairs. “We hope the FAA's reorganization of the Flight Standards organization will address industry challenges, such as siloed and inconsistent interpretations of regulations and policies, and result in more consistent outcomes for operators across the country." Learn more about the realignment.
New FAA Review Board Offers Clarity on Inconsistent Interpretations of Regulations
March 29, 2017
Business aviation operators have a new recourse when faced with conflicting FAA interpretations of regulations by the Flight Standards Service or Aircraft Certification Service. On March 9, the FAA established the Regulatory Consistency Communication Board (RCCB) to provide guidance to stakeholders by clarifying inconsistencies related to the application of regulations. “We commend the FAA on the formation of the RCCB, which will be a welcome mechanism to help standardize agency responses and interpretations to regulations, particularly those coming from Flight Standards District Offices,” said David Norton, an aviation attorney and member of NBAA's Domestic Operations Committee. Read more about the RCCB.
Managing Business Aircraft as an Asset: Strategies for Acquisition and Replacement
Jan. 12, 2017
Do you manage your aircraft as an asset, ensuring its greatest value upon resale? Proper strategy requires careful consideration through the entire ownership cycle – from purchase through replacement. "We think of aircraft as assets in a portfolio," said Don Dwyer of Guardian Jet, an industry-recognized expert in fleet planning and aircraft acquisition. "An aircraft may not be as nimble as stock, but it needs to be as nimble as possible. If you have an asset that is always prepared to sell, you'll sell it faster and for more money." Dwyer will discuss this issue during an education session on Jan. 26 at the NBAA West Palm Beach Regional Forum. Learn more.
Washington State Simplifies Aircraft Registration Exemptions, Late Fees
Nov. 22, 2016
Beginning Jan. 1, Washington state aircraft registrations that are 60 days or more past due will incur a $100 penalty. This replaces an earlier Washington Department of Transportation policy that imposed escalating penalties of up to $400 for those who registered late. Aircraft owners and operators in Washington must register every January, and the registrations are valid through the end of the year. Learn more.
Shop Smart for Aviation Software
July 25, 2016
While there are three main aviation software functions – flight scheduling, maintenance documentation and finance/tax reporting – some companies might not need all three. When it's time to upgrade your company's aviation software, be sure to avoid paying for options that your company doesn't need by reviewing NBAA's four steps to buying software in the July/August 2016 issue of Business Aviation Insider.
Trying to Predict the 'New Normal' for Business Aircraft Markets
April 6, 2016
The vagaries of the business aircraft marketplace continue to challenge even the most sophisticated forecast models. In the U.S., sales are not keeping pace with the improving economy, as they were expected to do, and the global market has been negatively affected by Russia's unanticipated military aggression in the Ukraine, and political challenges to business aircraft ownership in China. At NBAA's Business Aviation Taxes Seminar, set for May 6, in Washington, DC, Dean Roberts, director of market analysis at Rolls-Royce North America, will discuss today's business aviation market. Read more about today's business aircraft market.
New Business Aviation Use Options to Be Highlighted at NBAA's Aircraft Finance Conference
Dec. 31, 2015
Aircraft utilization options, including new business models such as modified fractional and membership programs, are among the topics to be highlighted at NBAA's upcoming Business Aircraft Finance, Registration & Legal Conference, set for Feb. 10 to 12 in Boca Raton, FL. "This session will expose attendees to these different aircraft ownership and usage models," said Scott O'Brien, NBAA's senior manager of finance and policy. "The presenters will help advisors understand how to match the different models to their company's or client's needs." Learn more about the conference and register now.
Cape Town International Registry Protects Aviation Assets
July 13, 2015
While there can be confusion surrounding the Cape Town International Registry (CTIR) established by the Cape Town Convention, owners and operators should be aware that it exists to facilitate transactions and protect interests in aviation assets – airframes, helicopters or engines – of a certain size. Currently, nearly 60 countries have ratified the Aviation Protocol to the CTC, and the CTIR allows parties to register interests in applicable "aircraft objects," according to Joel Bulleigh, an attorney with the aviation group of McAfee & Taft, who compared the CTIR to a records office where parties to real estate transactions file documents as part of real estate closings. Read more about the CTIR
FAA, DOT at Odds Over Revised Guidance for Aircraft Held in Non-Citizen Trusts
Feb. 10, 2014
A recent memo issued by the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Transportation (DOT) outlined several misgivings about guidance issued by the FAA last year regarding oversight of aircraft held by non-citizen trusts (NCTs). Registering an aircraft through an NCT allows owners to register on the United States aircraft registry under an N-number, even if they are not a U.S. citizen or legal resident, through use of a U.S. citizen trustee. Read more about this issue
Global Nature of Business Aviation Marketplace Brings New Transaction Challenges
Feb. 6, 2014
Obtaining an FAA airworthiness certificate, ensuring a clean title and paying any applicable customs duties are just a few difficulties unique to importing an aircraft. James Meyer, a partner at Harper Meyer Perez Hagen O'Connor Albert & Dribin, LLP, and a member of the NBAA Tax Committee, specializes in aircraft transactions and strongly urges buyers to carefully plan the aircraft importation process and assemble a team of experts. Among his suggestions are: hire a designated airworthiness representative, a customs broker and even legal counsel in the sale aircraft's current state of registration. Learn more about importing an aircraft
What’s The Cape Town Registry? NBAA Offers a Refresher
August 30, 2013
A question often fielded by NBAA staff and on Air Mail is: "What is the Cape Town International Registry?" The registry was designed by an international treaty to protect financial interests in aircraft and engines. In 2001, to make consistent sense of different nations’ and territories’ laws and regulations, representatives from many countries and international organizations met in Cape Town, South Africa, at the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment. Learn more about the Cape Town International Registry.
Coalition Submits Comments on FAA Non Citizen Trusts
August 20, 2012
An industry coalition, in which NBAA is involved, submitted substantive comments to the FAA regarding Non-U.S. Citizen Trust aircraft registration. In an effort to address key issues and further elaborate on the industry’s position, the industry prepared a supplemental submission which focuses on concerns for non-operators, facilitating the information flow and access to records and aircraft, the submission and non-disclosure of operating agreements, the removal of the trustee for specific cause, as well as a revised trust agreement. Learn More.
Consider Insurance If Moving Aircraft Off FAA Registry
March 26, 2012
Some companies need to move an aircraft to a foreign subsidiary or grow weary of dealing with the US regulatory and tax issues and may want to examine the option of moving their aircraft "off-shore". While this may sound appealing, the issues are complicated and varied. This subject was addressed in a presentation (734 KB, PDF), and a new article addressing insurance considerations now is available. Authored by NBAA’s Aviation Insurance Committee Member, Christa Hinckley, the article discusses policy and risk management considerations aircraft owners must be aware of before moving an aircraft to a new Registry. Review the article (33 KB, PDF).
Aircraft Purchase Market Can Be Challenging, But Not Impossible
May 9, 2011
While the business aircraft market is seen to be slowly recovering, the difficulty of securing financing makes purchasing an aircraft today much more challenging than it was before September 2008. "The time required to close the financing is often much longer," said Jeff Wieand of Boston Jet Search. Bankers recommend that buyers be prepared to make the case for how the aircraft will help them achieve their business goals. Read more.
Exploring Treatment of Monetary Deposits in Aircraft Transactions
August 23, 2010
It is common for buyers of business aircraft to place "fully refundable" deposits in escrow when entering into a letter of intent or purchase agreement. A new article, provided by NBAA Tax Committee Member Keith Swirsky, addresses issues concerning monetary deposits, such as "back-to-back" transactions and whether a seller can obtain forfeiture of a deposit in such transactions; the typical approach of Oklahoma City title and escrow companies in the event of a dispute concerning the deposit; and best practices. View the article.
New, Onerous FAA Aircraft Registration Regulations Published
July 19, 2010
The FAA had estimated that approximately one third of aircraft registrations are no longer valid. To rectify this, the FAA published new regulations regarding aircraft registration. Over a three year period, FAA will terminate the N number registrations of all aircraft registered before October 1, 2010, and will require the re-registration of each aircraft. Aircraft registrations will be valid for three years and registration certificates will include the expiration date. The FAA will cancel the N-numbers of aircraft that are not re-registered or renewed. Learn More.
NBAA Urges Owners to Exercise Caution with FAA Registry Priority Requests
August 4, 2006
Aircraft owners filing an initial N number registration or change to the aircraft registration, when requesting priority registrations from the FAA, must declare an international flight and provide proof of the upcoming flightt. Under new FAA policy, effective August 1, 2006, all Declarations of international flights will be compared with actual flights. Review the FAA guidance.