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Aircraft

Aircraft register

What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?

Aircraft can be registered in Bermuda in either the private or the commercial transport category. Requirements for registration of aircraft are fully set out in the UK Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013. This includes who is considered to be a qualified person for registration. Such qualified persons are:

  • the crown in right of her majesty’s government in the United Kingdom or in right of the  Bermuda government;
  • UK nationals;
  • commonwealth citizens;
  • nationals of any European Economic Area (EEA) state;
  • bodies incorporated in any part of the commonwealth and which have their registered office or principal place of business in any part of the commonwealth; or
  • undertakings formed in accordance with the law of an EEA state and which have their registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the EEA.

It should be noted that aircraft registered on the Bermuda register will be subject to various technical directives concerning their maintenance and operation. Such requirements are fully detailed in separate notices available on the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) website. The only requirements external to the BCAA are those relating to the Class 6 aircraft radio licence which, under statute, is administered by the Bermuda Regulatory Authority.

Mortgages and encumbrances

Is there a domestic register for aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests? If so, what are the requirements and legal effects of registration?

Aircraft mortgages and aircraft engine mortgages can be registered under the Mortgaging of Aircraft and Aircraft Engines Act 1999 and related regulations. The relevant registers are maintained by the BCAA. Registration is not required for perfection or enforceability purposes, but does ensure priority over any non-registered mortgages or subsequently registered mortgages.

It is also possible for the priority of a mortgage to be fixed by filing a priority notice with the BCAA pursuant to which the priority of a yet to be executed mortgage can be a fixed for a 14-day renewable period. Once an entry has been made and the mortgage is registered (within 14 days excluding public holidays), the mortgage will be deemed to have priority from the date of registration of the priority notice.

All information on the Mortgage Register is deemed to be in the public domain. As such, all parties are deemed to have express notice of the information contained within the register.

Detention

What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

Under Bermuda law, persons are granted a right to detain and, in some cases, sell (or cause to be forfeited) aircraft under certain circumstances, such as:

  • non-payment of airport charges;
  • contravention of certain licensing and the air navigation provisions of the UK Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013;
  • forfeiture under Bermuda customs law – forfeiture of an aircraft may occur if an aircraft has been adapted and used for the purpose of smuggling or concealing goods;
  • crimes including: 
    • terrorism – under the Aviation Security and Piracy (Overseas Territories) Order 2000, certain sections of the UK Aviation Security Act 1982 were extended to Bermuda. Under the Anti-terrorism (Financial and Other Measures) Act 2004, the Bermuda courts may make forfeiture orders with respect to any property of a person convicted of financing terrorism which is intended to be, or is suspected of being, used for the purposes of terrorism. This would include aircraft; and
    • drug trafficking – if an aircraft is used for drug trafficking purposes or purchased from the proceeds of crime, a court can order the aircraft to be forfeited; and
  • war or national emergency – when a state of war or national emergency exists, the governor of Bermuda has broad powers to make regulations pursuant to the Emergency Powers Act 1963, which includes, among other things, the power to make regulations which authorise the taking of possession or control of any property.

Safety and maintenance

What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?

The relevant European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approvals and Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTARs) under the UK Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013 apply.

 Drones

What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?

The relevant EASA approvals and OTARs under the UK Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013 apply.

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