An aircraft may be registered to the owner, its designee, or a selected management company in any appropriate jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction of registration may be the domicile of the owner, however common practice is to register either in the most tax-efficient jurisdiction (for example, Isle of Man, Bermuda or the Cayman Islands) or a jurisdiction providing ease of operation (for example an EU state). An aircraft, like a ship, can only be registered in one jurisdiction at a time.
The operation and maintenance of the aircraft is then subject to the laws of the country of registration. Pilots, engineers and maintenance organisations employed must also hold licences or approvals issued by the national aviation authority concerned. If chartered to third parties, the aircraft must also be operated under an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued by the same authority.
In certain cases, a special purpose company may be created to hold registration of the aircraft, or the aircraft may be registered to the management company (as ‘charterer by demise’ but without title) to distance the owner from the asset and simplify operational billing.
The issue of a Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) in the new jurisdiction will be subject to ensuring compliance with associated regulatory requirements and may be subject to the performance of an annual inspection, ‘C’ check or other conditions determined by the regulatory body.