Civil aviation and aerial activities in the Macau SAR (“Macau”) are governed by the Civil Aviation Activity Regulation (Executive Order n. º 10/2014) which set forth the general principles for aerial operations in this jurisdiction, and by the Air Navigation Regulation (Executive Order n. º 64/2019) which determines the mandatory technical requirements to provide safe and effective operation by aerial transportation.
Internationally, Macau is a signatory of The Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, which established the International Civil Aviation Organization. Under this Convention Macao is subject to certain obligations relating to the operational safety of civil aviation.
On other hand, Macau is not part of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, also known as the Cape Town Convention, whose purpose is to resolve the problematics of obtaining certain and opposable rights to high-value aviation assets, namely airframes and aircraft engines.
According to the Macau’s Civil Aviation Activity Regulation, commercial aerial transportation such as passenger aerial transportation, cargo and mail to and from Macau are formed as public service concession to be granted to an operator incorporated in Macau and duly certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Macau (“AACM”). One of the operator’s main responsibilities is to request AACM the prior authorization to operate leased aircrafts in order to comply with AACM’s security standards.
It is under AACM’s scope the issuance, renewal and amendment of any certificates, authorizations or licenses related to aircrafts, as well as the admission of similar documents when issued outside of Macau.
Under Macau law, an aircraft to be authorized to fly in here must be mandatorily registered in (i) Macau, (ii) any country signatory of the Chicago Convention, or (iii) any other country in relation to which there is an agreement with the Macau Government.
As an aircraft can only be registered in one country, and in case the aircraft is to be registered in Macau, the AACM will require evidence that (i) the aircraft is new and shall be delivered by the manufacturer directly, or (ii) it is, or will be in the short-term, deregistered in the country of origin, in order to complete the respective registration procedures in Macau and subsequently have issued the required certificates.
Moreover, it is also mandatory for the lessee (the Macau company which will operate the aircraft, i.e. an airline) to be licensed as a Macau company, and to register the lease Agreement with the AACM.
Apart from the above mentioned registration and according to Law no.10/98/M, the aircraft shall have to be registered as well with the Macau Moveable Assets Registry (“Registry”). This registration shall disclose to the public the legal status of the assets and rights registered, and it is independent to the registration with AACM.
Under Macau law, the first registration to be made with respect to any asset is the ownership, which is mandatory with respect to all aircraft registered with AACM.
Subsequently, it is also possible to register a mortgage, lease and other rights or liens over the aircraft. However, it is only mandatory by law to register the ownership rights with the Registry. Important to note that as for any mortgages and other security interests, AACM will not handle/register the guarantees over the aircraft, but rather the Registry.
Finally, registration of the aircraft with the AACM will levy the payment of certain fees, notably for the issuance of the required certificates such as Certificate of Registration, Airworthiness, Station License and Noise Certificate. The same shall apply with each registration with the Registry (i.e. ownership, lease, etc.) which shall be subject to the payment of a registration fee of MOP5,000.00.