Transfer and Registry
In the UAE, aircraft title can be transferred through a legal instrument in a form acceptable to the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and executed by the seller and the purchaser in writing. It must describe in detail the relevant aircraft and express the parties’ intention to sell and purchase it.
Civil Aviation Regulations state in order to register an aircraft transfer document with the GCAA, it must meet the legal instrument conditions, be accompanied by a certified true copy of the document establishing the title, an original notarised power of attorney or any other original document of authorisation giving full powers to submit the related GCAA request (if applicable).
Saudi aircraft ownership cannot be transferred without an official deed which has no effect towards third parties unless entered in the register kept by the General Aviation Civil Authority (GACA) (Article 59 of the Civil Aviation Law). Any legal disposition of a national aircraft can be made to any person by means of a sale, lease, pledge or any other form of disposition based on Sharia or the law but this only comes into effect when it is entered into the register kept by the GACA (Article 60 of the Civil Aviation Law).
The UAE Civil Aviation Regulations require owners and lessees wishing to register or maintain aircraft in the GCAA registry to be a UAE national; corporate body with its principal place of business in the UAE or wholly owned by a UAE national or UAE Government department. According to Article 29 of the Civil Aviation Law, as well as in cases of destruction, loss or permanent withdrawal from operation of aircraft, the deregistration at the GCAA registry happens if the owner ceases to be a UAE national or transfers their ownership to a national of another state.
In Saudi Arabia, the Civil Aviation Law created a register for national civil aircrafts (Article 51) and the law’s regulations which have not yet been published. They specify the data entered into the register and aircraft registration requirements. Aircrafts registered in this register enjoy Saudi nationality and must display this and registration marks in line with the Regulations. The GACA will deliver registration certificates on fulfilment of registration.
Aircrafts with foreign registration can be registered with the UAE aircraft if the operator falls within the scope of the requirements during the term of a lease agreement under the Civil Aviation Regulations. There is no prescribed form in respect of leases. However, the parties to a registered lease should clearly determine the main elements of the lease arrangements such as the identification of the leased aircraft, the financial requirements, duration and liability provisions for its operation.
Aircrafts can only be leased in Saudi Arabia with the GACA’s approval (Article 68 of the Civil Aviation Law). There is no specific aviation law in the UAE regarding aircraft security documents, e.g. aircraft mortgages. The GCAA does not provide for a specific registry for the registration of security documents. If there is a mortgage of a registered aircraft, the GCAA will register the identification details of the mortgagee in its records. In Saudi it is possible to register a form of chattel mortgage as a right over an aircraft with the GACA.
The GACA has published detailed regulations on the protection of consumers in their dealings with airline companies, called the Consumers’ Rights Protection Regulations. Article 4 of the Regulations considers the contract formed between a carrier and a passenger when the company issues a final booking confirmation. Articles 5 and 6 set out the parties obligations. Passengers are expected to review the terms and conditions of their transportation contract and disclose any special needs before a final booking confirmation is issued.
They should also be at the airport by the time specified by the carrier and have completed all travel documents and regulatory requirements applicable to the flight. Carriers are expected to implement all the regulatory provisions, provide the GACA with all necessary documents and records; provide monthly reports to the Consumers’ Protection Department addressing issues like delayed and cancelled flights, boarding refusal and claims filed by passengers; comply with laws, circulars and directives issued by the GACA and clarify the terms of the transportation contract to the client before confirmed bookings are issued.
These Regulations also deal with issues like boarding refusal, downgrading, flight cancellation and delays, passengers’ special needs, luggage problems and ticket refunds.
If there is a violation of the Consumers’ Rights Protection Regulations, carriers are liable to a fine of up to 50,000 Riyals.