Pursuant to the Turkish Civil Aviation Code (‘Code 2920’), a Turkish Civil Aircraft must be registered in the Aircraft Registry which is held by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (‘the Ministry’). 49th Article of the Code 2920 states that a civil aircraft is considered to be a Turkish Civil Aircraft if that is owned by public agencies such as occupational organizations, associations, political parties, trade unions or foundations that have been established under Turkish Laws and whose executive positions are held by a majority of Turkish nationals. An aircraft which is owned by trade companies, cooperative societies and their unions that have been registered in the Turkish Trade Register also shall be considered as a Turkish Civil Aircraft if Turkish nationals have the majority in executive and representational positions and Turkish stockholders have the voting majority in accordance with the articles of the legal entity.
Registration of an aircraft by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is a condition to operate it. In order to register a Turkish civil aircraft in the Turkish Civil Aircraft Registry (‘the Registry’), the aircraft must not be registered in any other country. In case the aircraft once registered in a foreign country, a document that indicates its deletion from the foreign registry records shall be provided.
Additionally, an airworthiness certificate issued by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is required to complete the process. An aircraft recorded in Turkey’s registry shall not bear any mark suggesting that the aircraft registered in another country, only Turkey’s registration marks are allowed to be placed on the aircraft.
The Content of the Registration
The registry records must clearly state information such as manufacturer’s trade name and address, date of manufacture and serial number, type, model and trademark that is designated by the manufacturer.
The Registry must also provide information about the owner. Necessary information about the owner may change based on the owner’s legal status. When a natural person owns a civil aircraft, his/her name, surname and address shall be stated in the registry. If the natural person is listed in the trade register and holds a record number, this information must be presented as well. In case a trade partnership owns the aircraft, trade name and the record number of enrolled trade register shall be stated within the Registry. Finally, if a corporation owns the aircraft, company name and the address of the headquarters are the only information required to be stated in the registry.
Additionally, mode of acquisition and assigned registration marks shall be registered. The certificate holder is liable to keep this information accurate and notify the authority if any changes happen which may affect the registration.
Removal from the Registry
The removal process may take place due to an owner’s request or the Ministry’s act within its own initiative. The first option generally takes place when the aircraft is actually or assumedly been destroyed or lost in full. If that is the case, the owner shall submit revocation request of aircraft’s certificate registration to the Ministry.
There are three main scenarios where the Ministry takes action to delete the aircraft from the registry. Firstly, the Ministry is entitled to act to remove the aircraft from the registry when the aircraft deemed not satisfying the prescribed requirements under the law to be registered as a Turkish aircraft. Secondly, if the aircraft is also recorded on a foreign registry, the Ministry will take necessary steps to remove its records from the Registry. Finally, a temporary registration shall be canceled by the Ministry when the temporary-period is completed.
The registration mostly becomes an issue during the purchase period. Turkish Civil Aviation Directorate (‘the Directorate’) provided a Circular regarding the procedure of establishing or transferring rights over an aircraft partly or completely. Accordingly, such agreements shall be made in writing. Besides, they need to be registered within the Aircraft Registry in order to the purchase agreement be effective before the third parties.
Domestically Purchased Aircraft
A purchasing process is relatively easier when the purchase takes place within Turkey. Parties just need to produce original or copy of a notarized contract to the Directorate.
The process becomes more complex when the purchase is a cross-border one. Accordingly, parties must execute a written contract before completion of permanent or temporary import/export transactions. The contract shall be provided to the Directorate before sending a technical import conformity certificate to the custom authority. An original document that states payment of the stamp duty also must be provided to the Directorate.
If the contract is created in a language different than Turkish, a notary certified translation is required. Finally, parties must provide an apostilled specimen of signature and an original letter of authorization regarding signatories.
Kaan Erdoğan, LL.M.