Once a suitable entity is selected to own the aircraft, proper registration is key to perfecting an owner's interest in the aircraft.

Transaction Highlights

Negotiated the purchase of one of the first Boeing Business Jets and Bombardier Global Express aircraft, and the first operational Eurocopter EC 155B VIP-configured helicopter delivered in the United States.

Represented aircraft owner in connection with the acquisition of Dassault Falcon 900 as part of synthetic lease financing and reverse 1031 exchange involving synthetic lease.

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft can be registered with the U.S. civil aviation registry by U.S. citizens (as defined by the FAA). There exist strict registration requirements, whether an aircraft will be registered individually or in a corporate or LLC entity. For an entity to be considered a U.S. citizen, the President and 2/3 of the board must be U.S. citizens and at least 75% of the voting interests in the company must be held by U.S. citizens.

The FAA has adopted guidelines for the use of non-citizen trusts for the purpose of registering aircraft by non-U.S. citizens, especially when the aircraft are to be operated by the beneficial owner of the trust. Although the FAA continues to approve non-citizen owner trusts, careful consideration should be given by non-U.S. citizens to the method used to register aircraft on the U.S. civil aircraft registry.

When a non-citizen owns a U.S. company, but the company is managed by U.S. citizens, it is possible to use a voting trust under which the interests in the company are subject to a voting trust with a U.S. citizen (typically, a financial institution). In the case of a voting trust, the company itself remains the registered owner of the aircraft and is considered a “U.S. citizen” by the FAA by virtue of the voting trust.

The FAA requires the re-registration of U.S. registered aircraft every 3 years.

Registered owners will be provided with 180 days notice to effect the re-registration of their aircraft. Failure to properly re-register the aircraft will result in the termination of the registration which will, in most cases, also result in a default under related financing arrangements.



If an aircraft purchase agreement is signed, and a  business aviation transaction goes smoothly at the end, with relevant registration, state tax, federal tax, DOT, FAA and other issues addressed,  it is only because a great deal of work has been done, and experience brought to bear, to plan for it.

- Stewart Lapayowker