UK crown dependency aims to create aircraft register and its own civil aviation authority to attract business

Self-governing UK crown dependency the Isle of Man is to establish its own aircraft register in a bid to attract corporate jets from around Europe to the tax haven.

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. The Manx government is now aiming to create its own CAA along UK lines, with the aim of attracting business aviation to its register. The move follows a similar initiative 15 years ago to create a maritime register, which now includes over 400 ships, over half that of the UK’s register. The Manx maritime register lists 24 “super yachts”, which led the Isle of Man authorities to pursue the same “high net-worth individuals” for registration of their aircraft, says chief executive of the Manx trade ministry, Chris Corlett.

“The Isle of Man has established itself as a business centre in banking, shipping, insurance and financing, so private jet registration would be a complement to our other activities,” he says.

The Manx government is recruiting a director of civil aviation, who will oversee a small team focusing on registration. The UK CAA has provisionally allocated its own unused “M” country designator for the island, although final details over how the two CAAs would interact have yet to be finalised.

The island is introducing zero-rated corporation tax for all companies except those in the banking sector, so the government hopes the register will encourage aircraft owners to use Manx aircraft finance, management and other services. The Manx CAA will engage the audit functions of an independent body to monitor the airworthiness of aircraft on its register.

The Isle of Man is rated second after Germany, and ahead of the USA and UK, in the Paris memorandum of understanding on port state control list of shipping registers, which records the number of unseaworthy vessels relative to size of register.

The Isle of Man officials hope this mark of quality, combined with the offer of round-the-clock staff availability, will persuade those corporate aircraft clients not sufficiently tempted by the financial benefits of Manx registration, says Corlett.

The register will attract “tens” of owners of aircraft from around Europe to its “cost-effective jurisdiction” in the first two years, but could emulate the figures for ships over time, he says.


Source: Flight International