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Manx register approaches 500-aircraft milestone

The Isle of Man aircraft registry hopes to add the 500th aircraft in July as the appetite for M-prefixed registrations from the world's first dedicated private registry continues to soar among high net-worth individuals and corporations.

"We have 485 business aircraft and helicopters to date and typically add about 100 types a year," says the island's director of civil aviation Hartley Elder.

He says demand is particularly strong from owners of large cabin and long range aircraft, including the Gulfstream G550 and Dassault Falcon 7X.

In contrast, however, the registry has seen a fall in the number of business jets at the lower end of the business aircraft spectrum as owners are forced to sell or move the aircraft on to commercial registers to offset the cost of ownership by chartering to third parties.

"We have seen between 20 to 30 aircraft leave the registry in the last year. But the drop in numbers has been offset by short-term airliner registrations, whereby aircraft that are between lease agreements with airliners are registered with us temporarily."

The Manx register was set up in May 2007 to bring business and jobs to the island's banks, legal firms and insurance companies. It was also established, Elder says, to position the territory as a centre for aerospace and aviation services.

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