The Isle of Man aircraft registry says it expects its tally of business aircraft to grow to 500 jets, turboprops and helicopters by the middles of next year as demand for M-prefixed registrations continues at a relentless pace.
"We had well over 420 aircraft on the register at the beginning of November and are adding aircraft at a rate of 10 a month," said the island's director of civil aviation Hartley Elder.
The Manx register - the only one in the world dedicated solely to registering private aircraft - was set up in May 2007 by the Manx government as a cost-neutral entity, making registration and other related services significantly cheaper than most other national registers.
© Phillip Pain
The Isle of Man aircraft registry says it expects its tally of business aircraft to grow to 500 by the end of the year
The register - now the eighth largest in the world - was established to bring in business and jobs to the island's banks and legal and insurance companies, said Elder, and to position the territory as a centre for aerospace and aviation services.
Elder said the economic crisis had prompted the withdrawal of about 20 aircraft from the register. "Some owners have been forced to move their assets on to commercial registers so they can earn revenue from chartering their aircraft to third parties," he said.
Plans by Guernsey in the Channel Islands to set up its own aircraft register were welcomed by Elder. "We have built a highly successful register that has grown faster that we ever anticipated, so competition is inevitable," he said.
The registry is developing a bespoke computer system designed to reduce the amount of paperwork, streamline the application process, and ease registration and oversight of each aircraft.