The Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry
The Cayman Islands continues to manage through the COVID-19 pandemic, and like other countries around the world, of special focus is the tremendous impact on the aviation industry. In response to the global pandemic the CI Government closed the borders of the jurisdiction in March 2020 and implemented restrictions on international air transport. Recently, a phased approach has been adopted to safely re-open the borders since September 2020.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI), custodian of the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry (CIAR) was in an enviable position having previously established a bespoke electronic data management platform, VP-C Online, and business continuity provisions to allow staff to work effectively in remote settings. This was beneficial when offices closed and public health rules prohibited office attendance, as the regulatory oversight of aircraft on the CIAR was adapted to include virtual meetings, virtual inspections, reviews and a combination of performance-based risk analysis solutions to ensure safety oversight.
“In addition, the CAACI has a team of highly qualified and experienced inspectors based in key regions who were able to offer in-country or regional support when international travel was curtailed.”
While borders remained closed, VP-C Online proved beneficial for keeping our customers up-to-date on all registration matters. VP-C Online provides a secure way to manage aircraft documents including applications (starting with the registration application), certificates, approvals and proved a convenient and secure way for registrants to apply for authorisations and certificates required for both initial aircraft registration and continuing airworthiness and operations. The ability for globally based clients to file applications 24/7 from any time zone around the world is a significant benefit. This secured portal is also a repository for all technical and supporting documentation for the registration and continuing airworthiness processes for the tenure of the aircraft on the Registry. Registrants are able to check the status of applications and re-print certificates or authorisations should the need arise.
In addition to VP-C Online, pre-COVID, the CIAR embarked on diversifying its services with the focus on a niche market of facilitating aircraft transitions for lessors and financiers. “The CAACI has always recognised the importance of aircraft financiers and lessors, as many of our clients in aircraft ownership and operation depend on these financial intermediaries. This is a valuable relationship we wish to foster through an insightful and collaborative understanding to the interdependencies of the industry. We have introduced material processes, bespoke products and refined online portals, all specifically designed to support the interests of lessors”, remarked Richard Smith, Director-General.
The CAACI is working to establish long term relationships with lessors that will provide ready solutions where aircraft registration support is required with emphasis beyond the registration process.
A new objective, within the Transition Register offering, is to delegate responsibilities to qualified Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisations (CAMOs) under the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order (AN(OT) O). This is a significant task for the CAACI where specific oversight arrangements in keeping within the delegation have to be established to ICAO performance-based regulation standards.
This delegation to selected CAMOs (approved for Aircraft Transition activities) provides for significant efficiencies in the relationship between the CAACI acting in regulatory oversight and the CAMO making submissions for gaining Approvals and Certificates. This proves very helpful when our inspectors were unable to travel to conduct these reviews.
A project management system for Transition Aircraft was established for close coordination between all involved, regular liaison meetings arranged to ensure the Transition project remained active during the aircraft’s registry in the Cayman Islands and commensurate with the status of the Lessors operational objective. In addition, VP-C Online now includes a Lessor Module whereby a lessor can apply for a VP-C Online account for visibility to the aircraft managed.
This focus on quality service, and flexibility positions the CAACI and the CIAR to continue to distinguish the Cayman Islands’ aviation regulatory and registration offerings from others. The CIAR remains committed to offering a personal, responsive and high-quality service to clients and partners and to finding innovative and efficient solutions to the needs of those they serve.