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Aircraft register

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

Aircraft can be registered in the Cayman Islands as private use aircraft (or commercial use aircraft subject to the existence of a relevant Article 83bis agreement or under a Cayman air operator’s certificate). Requirements for registration of aircraft are fully set out in the UK Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013, which includes the criteria for who is considered to be a qualified person for registration. Such qualified persons are:

  • the crown in right of the UK or the Cayman 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.

Aircraft registered on the Cayman Islands register will be subject to various technical directives concerning their maintenance and operation. Such requirements are fully detailed in separate notices available on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) website. The only requirements external to the CAACI are those relating to the Class 6 aircraft radio licence which, under statute, is administered by the Cayman Islands Information and Communications Technology 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 mortgages with respect to engines and other parts with respect to Cayman registered aircraft can be registered on the aircraft mortgage register maintained by the CAACI under the Mortgaging of Aircraft Regulations 2015. Registration is not required for perfection or enforceability purposes, but does ensure priority over any non-registered mortgages or subsequently registered mortgages (subject to the priority regime under the Cape Town Convention where a related international interest has also been registered at the International Registry).

It is also possible for the priority of a mortgage to be fixed by filing a priority notice with the CAACI, pursuant to which the priority of an as-yet unregistered mortgage can be 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.

International interests that fall under the Cape Town Convention may be registered against a Cayman Islands-registered airframe or separate engines at the International Registry maintained pursuant to the Cape Town Convention.

Under the Mortgaging of Aircraft Regulations 2015, the effects of registration of international interests at the International Registry is now recognised from the effective date of the Cape Town Convention in the Cayman Islands. The priority of pre-existing aircraft mortgages on the Cayman Islands aircraft mortgage register is preserved, although from such date mortgages registered on the Cayman Islands aircraft mortgage register and as international interests at the International Registry will have their priority determined in accordance with the priority rules set out in the Cape Town Convention, subject to the priority of certain non-consensual rights or interests that will in any event take priority under Cayman law and under the Cape Town Convention as applicable to the Cayman Islands (eg, Cayman government liens for unpaid taxes or charges and repairers’ liens).


What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

Under Cayman law, detention rights may arise by statute, as result of a breach of contract or where an attachment of an aircraft is sought (eg, for non-payment of a debt or on the liquidation or insolvency of the owning company). Statutory rights of detention include the following:

  • Airport charges – aircraft can be detained and sold for non-payment of airport charges; default of payment creates a statutory lien.
  • Contravention of certain licensing and the air navigation provisions of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order.
  • Customs – where anything becomes liable to forfeiture under the Customs Law (2017 revision), any aircraft used for the carriage, handling, deposit or concealment of that thing will also be liable to forfeiture. Forfeiture of an aircraft may also occur where it has been adapted for use or is used for the purposes of smuggling or concealing goods.
  • Crimes – where a person is convicted of an offence, any property in his or her possession or under his or her control that was used in connection with the offence or intended to be used for that purpose may be forfeited to the crown by order of the court.
  • Terrorism – under the Aviation Security and Piracy (Overseas Territories) Order 2000, certain sections of the UK Aviation Security Act 1982 were extended to the Cayman Islands. Under the Terrorism Law (2017 revision), the Cayman 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 includes aircraft).
  • War or national emergency – regulations made under the Emergency Powers Law (2006 revision) can give powers to the governor of the Cayman Islands to authorise the taking possession or acquisition 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.


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 apply.

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