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What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?
Part V(1) of the Civil Aviation Regulations outlines the conditions under which an aircraft may be registered with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The GCAA does not hold a specific aircraft registry.
The following individuals and entities are eligible as qualified persons to register an aircraft with the GCAA:
- UAE nationals;
- corporate entities whose principal place of business is the United Arab Emirates; and
- UAE government departments.
Aircraft, including foreign aircraft, can also be registered with the GCAA in the name of an operator, provided that the operator meets the criteria of a qualified person.
To register an aircraft with the GCAA, the following documents (as listed under Appendix 1 of Part V(1) of the Civil Aviation Regulations) must be submitted:
- a GCAA aircraft application form completed by the aircraft’s owner;
- a notarised original power of attorney or additional proof of authorisation in the event that the application form is executed by a representative of the owner;
- a certified true copy of the owner’s passport and UAE residence visa (if applicable) in the event that the application form is executed by an individual owner;
- certified true copies of the legal entity’s constitutional documents in the event that the owner is a legal entity;
- a certified true copy of the aircraft’s valid insurance policy;
- a copy of the aircraft’s non-registration or deregistration certificate issued by the civil aviation authority with which the aircraft was previously registered;
- a certified true copy of the contract or other legal document evidencing the aircraft’s transfer of title;
- certified copies of the power of attorney and identification for individuals or representatives that executed the aforementioned transfer of title;
- a certified true copy of a no-objection letter or consent letter from the aircraft lien holders; and
- a certificate of airworthiness issued by the GCAA.
An application to register an aircraft may be submitted online via the GCAA’s website, but any original documents required must be submitted to the GCAA in person.
The initial aircraft registration fee is dependent on the take-off weight of the aircraft to be registered and must be paid to the GCAA.
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?
The GCAA has no domestic register for the registration of securities. If a security interest (eg, mortgage or lease) is granted over a registered aircraft, the GCAA will register the details of the security interest. An application to register the security interest must be submitted to the GCAA, along with the executed documents and any other supporting documents requested by the GCAA, including a valid power of attorney.
No registration fees apply to the registration of a security interest except for international registry fees for the allocation of the authorising entry point code.
Upon filing the aforementioned documents, the aircraft will be registered in the GCAA’s aircraft register in the name of the parties concerned. Further, the certificate of registration will be issued in accordance with UAE law and no other filing, registration, submission or government approval is necessary, desirable or possible in this regard.
Under the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its Protocol on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment 2001 (the Cape Town Convention), the aircraft, engines and each international interest constituted by the bill of sale, mortgage or security assignment are registered in the international registry in accordance with applicable UAE law and practice. The United Arab Emirates recognises and enforces such international interests as a matter of UAE law. No other filing, registration, submission or government approval is necessary, desirable or possible to establish or protect the aircraft owner’s rights and those of the security trustee in respect of the aircraft. Such interests will be effective against third parties in the United Arab Emirates and the security trustee will be entitled to the priorities, protections and indemnities set out in the Cape Town Convention.
Excluding the information reflected on the certificate of registration, the information recorded by the GCAA is not available to third parties other than those concerned.
What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?
In the event of unpaid debts, the UAE courts may order the repossession of an aircraft. However, aircraft repossession in the United Arab Emirates is uncommon and largely untested.
What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?
The GCAA is responsible for regulating the safety and airworthiness of private and commercial aircraft. The GCAA’s safety and maintenance requirements are listed in Parts IV and V of the Civil Aviation Regulations.
All aircraft carriers operating in the United Arab Emirates must obtain an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the GCAA.
Non-UAE carriers may obtain an exemption from the GCAA for up to one year. The relevant operator will have its AOC revoked at the end of the exemption period.
What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?
Unmanned aerial vehicles are governed by Part VIII(10) of the Civil Aviation Regulations. All unmanned aerial vehicles and their operators must be registered with the GCAA before undertaking any recreational or commercial flights.
In addition, unmanned aerial vehicles that weigh five kilograms (kgs) or less and are used for recreational purposes may be flown only in GCAA-approved flying zones. Unmanned aerial vehicles that weigh more than five kgs and are flown for recreational purposes can be flown only within GCAA-approved flying clubs.
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