Aruba aircraft registry set to grow but wants to keep boutique appeal

Alasdair Whyte

Some 85 private jets and 50 commercial aircraft are registered in Aruba. However, by 2013 The Registry of Aruba believes they could easily be managing 500 aircraft, mostly corporate jets.
Jorge Colindres, Registry of Aruba
Jorge Colindres, Chairman & CEO of the Registry of Aruba.

Although the aircraft themselves can be regarded as luxury products by some, few people think of aircraft registries themselves as glamorous. However, this is exactly how the Registry of Aruba wants to position itself.

“When we launched the registry we wanted it to be like LVMH [the owners brands like Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessey], says Jorge Colindres, the head of International Air Safety Office, which manages The Registry of Aruba. “For us it is not about registering as many aircraft as possible. We want to offer the highest level of customer service and safety oversight.”

Colindres is also different to the people who run other registries. An entrepreneur, rather than a Civil servant, his company, Air Safety is the only privately owned registry manager. Since 1995 International Air Safety Office has managed all of the administration and marketing for Aruba. Air Safety Offices pays for training and equipment and registration fees provide enough revenue to pay for the entire budget of Aruba’s Directorate of Aviation.

“We were given a unique opportunity in 1995 and it works well for both sides,” says Colindres. “There is an amazing synergy between us as a private company and the government and there is no other way the department could be self-sustaining.”

Like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the Isle of Man, Aruba is a constitutionally autonomous country. Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands it uses Dutch law.

In 2010 Aruba ratified the Cape Town Convention and Aruba Vrijgestelde Vennootschap (exempt corporations), which are used to own aircraft can be structured so as not to pay any taxes – including VAT, dividend withholding tax or corporate income tax.

Some 85 private jets and 50 commercial aircraft are registered in Aruba. However, the registry has agreed to increase the number of jets in the next few years.

By 2013 Colindres believes they could easily be managing 500 aircraft, mostly corporate jets.

One deal that he is excited about is with Comlux Aviation in Zurich transferring a VIP B767-300ER to the Aruba registry. He says this is the first of 10 to 12 charter aircraft they hope to win from Comlux. Competing registries like the Isle of Man and Cayman are less keen on business jet charter companies.

But whilst the exchange is looking to grow he says it will not cut customer service. “Our clients know they can reach us 24/7 every day of the year and we are always available. Although they only deal with us they also know that there are officials on Aruba that we can contact any time,” says Colindres.

Air Safety Office likes to visit every client every few years and makes regular trips to Russia and the CIS states were it is very strong. Despite its Caribbean location – and International Air Safety’s head office in Miami – it has few customers in South America and Collindres is keen to find new customers in this region as well as Asia.

But as it grows it does not want to become the biggest registry. “Competition is good as it keep us working hard but it is not about numbers. We want to be efficient and focus on customer service. We are the Louis Vuitton of the aircraft registries.”

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