The Isle of Man, a self-governing UK crown dependency, has established its own aircraft register in a bid to attract corporate and privately owned aircraft to the tax haven and boost the island's economy. The first aircraft to carry the new M-country designator prefix will be rolled out on 1 May.
The island, situated in the Irish Sea between Ireland and the UK, has its own parliament, but has until now devolved civil aviation matters to the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
"We have been talking about developing our own aircraft register for more than eight years, but the idea's only gained momentum in the last two years," says Isle of Man director for civil aviation Brian Johnson.
The move follows a similar initiative by the government nearly two decades ago to create a maritime register, which now includes over 400 ships, and over two dozen "super yachts". Johnson says: "This led the Isle of Man authorities to pursue the same wealthy individuals for registration of their aircraft. The Island has established itself as a business centre in banking, shipping, insurance and financing, so private jet registration is a complement to these other activities.s"
Johnson says the Isle of Man offers aircraft owners many benefits, from high standards of safety oversight and customer service to attractive rates of personal and business tax.
The register, which will be run as a cost-neutral entity, is already proving "unbelievably popular", Johnson says, with seven business aircraft, including two helicopters, "already going through the registration process". He adds: "I had originally set a personal target of around 10 aircraft by the end of the year, but it looks like we will exceed that."
Read Helen Massy-Beresford's blog about the new aircraft register.....