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Aircraft

Aircraft register

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

There are two types of registers, each with their own function.

The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) maintains the nationality register in accordance with the Chicago Convention. The owner of the aircraft is registered, as well as the type of aircraft and serial number. Aircraft registration requirements include proof of ownership and proof that the aircraft is not (or no longer) registered in a foreign register. If the owner is not domiciled in the Netherlands, the owner must appoint a representative in the Netherlands.

Aircraft ownership, mortgages and charges are registered in a separate public register, which is held in Rotterdam by an independent government body (Kadaster).

This register is the official register maintained in accordance with the Geneva Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft 1948.

In order to register an aircraft in the public register, it is required that:

  • the aircraft is registered with the Dutch nationality register;
  • the aircraft is not also registered with any foreign nationality register;
  • the aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of at least 450 kilograms (kg); and
  • the request for registration of the aircraft with the public register has been approved by the court.

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?

Similar to ownership of aircraft, mortgages and charges are registered in the public register, which is held in Rotterdam by Kadaster.

This register is the official register maintained in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

In order to register an aircraft in the public register, it is required that:

  • the aircraft is registered with the Dutch nationality register;
  • the aircraft is not also registered with any foreign nationality register;
  • the aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of at least 450kg; and
  • the request for registration of the aircraft with the public register has been approved by the court.

Unregistered aircraft may be subject to a right of pledge only. 

Mortgages require a notarial deed of mortgage created by a Dutch public law notary and subsequent registration in the public register. With regard to precautionary arrest of aircraft, registration thereof in the public register is also required.

Registration of a mortgage in the public registers generally should not take more than a few hours.  The public register in relation to aircraft is not searchable online, but extracts from the register can be obtained in an expedient manner.

A so-called negative system applies in relation to the registration of ownership, meaning that registration is necessary to effect the transfer of ownership of registered aircraft. However, the actual situation regarding ownership may differ from what is stated in the public register. In practice, the registered owner will be presumed to be the owner of a Dutch-registered aircraft, but any other party may challenge the registration through the court system and bring evidence against the registration by any means. Third parties are largely protected by law if they have relied on incomplete or incorrect registrations. Further, ownership of aircraft registered in other Geneva Convention member states will be respected in the Netherlands.

Detention

What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

The Netherlands is a signatory to the Rome Convention on Precautionary Arrest 1933. If a registered aircraft has the nationality of a state party to the Rome Convention (including Dutch nationality) then the following regime applies for a precautionary arrest.

First, leave must be obtained from the district court. The competent court is that court where the aircraft is located or expected. Leave will not be granted if security has been provided for the total sum of the debt or for the value of the aircraft. Further, Article 3 of the Rome Convention stipulates that certain aircraft cannot be arrested.

After arresting an aircraft, the proceedings on the merits should be initiated within the period determined by the court. The precautionary arrest must be entered in the public register.

The arrest should be lifted with the provision of security. If the creditor does not lift the arrest voluntarily, the debtor should request the lifting in preliminary proceedings.

In case the aircraft does not have the nationality of a party to the Rome Convention, the regime for arrest is slightly different. The main differences are that:

  • precautionary arrest can be levied on any aircraft; and
  • leave will be granted only if fear of embezzlement is demonstrated.

Safety and maintenance

What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?

The principal pieces of national legislation are the Aviation Act and the Act on Aviation. The following regulations and decrees also apply:

  • the Aircraft Decree 2008, regulating airworthiness;
  • the Regulation on Aircraft Maintenance;
  • the Aviation Supervision Regulation;
  • the Aviation Licences Decree; and
  • the Air Traffic Regulation.

Air safety is administered by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate.

Drones

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

The applicable domestic legislation makes a distinction between professional and recreational use of remotely piloted aircraft systems. Recreational flights are governed by the Model Aircraft Regulation and are subject to many restrictions. The maximum weight should not exceed 25kg and remotely piloted aircraft systems should remain below a maximum altitude of 120 metres. Remotely piloted aircraft systems should remain visible at all times and it is prohibited to fly in the vicinity of airports and above housing or industrial areas and groups of people.

Profesional use of remotely piloted aircraft systems is governed by the Regulation on Remotely-Piloted Aircraft. Under this regulation the professional use of remotely piloted aircraft systems requires a remote operating certificate (ROC). Since 2016, the regulation makes a distinction between a regular ROC and a ROC-light. In short, the applicant for a regular ROC must comply with stricter rules. Among other things, a regular ROC requires a certificate of airworthiness for the remotely piloted aircraft system and a licence for the pilot. A ROC-light operator is limited to the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems up to a maximum weight of 4kg. Further, the use of a remotely piloted aircraft system under a ROC-light is subject to further limitations in relation to:

  • the maximum distance between the remotely piloted aircraft system and the pilot; and
  • the maximum altitude and the minimum distance between the remotely piloted aircraft system and buildings and groups of people.  

All remotely piloted aircraft system operators are required to respect privacy laws.

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