The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) is out in force at the show to promote the island’s aircraft registry to private and commercial operators of business aircraft in Europe.
CAACI, in partnership with the Cayman Enterprise City, is touting the benefits of establishing “a principal place of business” at its Cayman Maritime and Aviation city. The aviation component was added to the line-up in August 2017, following requests from the Cayman register’s current owners, says Richard Smith, director general of civil aviation for CAACI – the custodian of the registry. “We have only catered for corporate and private owners of business aircraft, but customers were coming to us in increasing numbers saying they wanted to make their aircraft available for charter. We had to respond,” he adds.
Increased competition in the offshore aircraft registry market over the past decade – notably from Aruba, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and San Marino – has also played a significant part in Cayman’s strategy rethink. “The registry is a net contributor to the [Cayman] government’s bottom line, so, maintaining positive growth in registrations and therefore revenue, is a significant part of our mission,” says Charlie Kirkconnell, chief executive of Cayman Enterprise City, which is the parent company of the maritime and aviation venture.
In order to secure an air operator's certificate (AOC) operators must establish their principal base of business in Cayman and employ an account manager within the jurisdiction, Kirkconnell notes.
There has been “a lot of interest” in the new offering, Smith adds, with “lots of discussions” under way with owners.
Cayman – an autonomous British overseas territory in the western Caribbean – has one of the oldest registers in the world, and its current tally of VP-C-registered aircraft totals 180. “We have registered hundreds over the decades,” says Smith. The register is no stranger to handling commercial operators. Saudi Arabian carriers Flynas and SaudiGulf’s 33 Airbus A320s all fly under the VP-C banner.