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The International Registry: Protecting Your Aviation Assets

Operating under the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol (CTC), the International Registry of Mobile Assets (IR) provides for the electronic registration and protection of ‘international interests’ in aircraft objects, namely airframes capable of transporting 8 or more passengers or goods in excess of 2750 kilograms, helicopters capable of transporting 5 or more passengers or goods in excess of 450 kilograms, and aircraft engines that have at least 1750 lb of thrust or its equivalent (jet propulsion) or have at least 550 rated take-off shaft horsepower or its equivalent (turbine-powered or piston-powered). As with any other valid security interest, international interests must be registered in order to be perfected (as against the interests of all third parties). The manufacturer’s name, the model designator, and the manufacturer’s serial number form the subject of each registration.

While other national or provincial registries provide additional or alternate means of perfecting security interests in aircraft and engines (such as Ontario’s Personal Property Security Registration system (PPSA) or Quebec’s Register of Personal and Movable Real Rights (RPMRR)), the International Registry offers a unified and internationally recognized system. As such, it is intended to become the sole register for international interests in aircraft objects. Canada, similar to other contracting states to the CTC, still maintains a national aircraft registry: The Canadian Civil Aircraft Register, monitored by Transport Canada. However, this national registry serves only to record the custody and control of aircraft, and does not have any bearing on ownership.

As the International Registry is monitored by the International Civil Aviation Organization and centralizes the recording of transactions, registration is considered best practice for purchasers, creditors, debtors, lessors, lessees, agents and others in protecting their financial and/or ownership interests in such an asset. Registration with the International Registry can even have a positive effect on resale values, by providing a clearer picture of the ownership and title history. In order to demonstrate the priority of interests, the IR produces Priority Search Certificates, which provide a complete history of registration upon searching against an aircraft or engine.

YYZlaw has years of experience assisting clients with all facets and functions of the International Registry. We regularly assist clients with forming and maintaining Transacting User Entity accounts, filing or discharging registrations of international interests or contracts of sale, and obtaining priority search certificates to assist purchase, sale, lease or financing transactions of aircraft and engines. Our assistance and guidance provides clients with the satisfaction that their assets are secure and at optimum value.