When the registry was launched in 2015, it was hoped it would generate thousands in registration fees and encourage wealthy aircraft owners to do business in Jersey.
However, last year the JEP revealed that despite more than £800,000 being spent on establishing the registry, just two aircraft were signed up – one of which has since left the register.
Now, the operational control of the registry will be handed over to Ports of Jersey, which already runs the Island’s Ships’ Registry.
As part of the five-year agreement Ports of Jersey must operate the registry in a way that will ‘secure sustainable growth’ for the Island’s economy. A review system overseen by the Economic Development Minister will be set up to ensure targets are met.
In a press statement, Assistant Economic Development Minister Murray Norton, who has political responsibility for the registry, said: ‘I firmly believe that the registry can and should form part of Ports’ business model and I’m confident that Ports of Jersey has the relevant and proven commercial expertise to make the registry successful.
‘We’ve reached this position following some determined work behind the scenes by myself and officers. They have worked incredibly hard to turn around what had become, undeniably, a failing project into a solid plan for future success.’
Speaking during yesterday’s States question time, Deputy Norton said that he expected the registry to be up and running, under its new business model, by the middle of this year. He said the department were ‘relying on the expertise and knowledge’ within Ports of Jersey and the new model would need to ensure Jersey was on a ‘level playing field’ with other registers worldwide with regard to the charging of GST.
Plans to launch a joint Channel Islands Registry ultimately failed after Guernsey instead opted to progress the plan on their own. Since it launched in 2013, more than 150 aircraft have joined Guernsey’s registry, while a similar scheme in the Isle of Man has more than 1,000 registered aircraft.
Ports of Jersey chief executive Doug Bannister said: ‘Ports of Jersey is willing to assist the government in progressing this initiative and look forward to working alongside the minister and his department to ensure the future success of the Jersey Aircraft Registry.
‘Given the success we have seen with the Ships’ Registry now under our portfolio and the affinity we have we have in both the aviation and maritime sector, this is a natural step for us, moving forwards.
‘Registrations of boats and aircraft often go hand in hand with those owners of high-end assets, so the ease of being able to register under one business management umbrella can only be of benefit to all parties.’