Safety Regulations

Safety regulations for aircraft leasing are comprehensive and crucial to ensuring the airworthiness and safety of leased aircraft. These regulations are primarily governed by international aviation authorities such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and national aviation safety bodies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe, and other national regulators. The main focus of these regulations is to ensure that leased aircraft meet the same safety and maintenance standards as owned aircraft. Here are key aspects of safety regulations related to aircraft leasing:

Airworthiness Certification

  • Leased aircraft must have a valid Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) issued by the aviation authority of the country of registration. This certificate confirms that the aircraft complies with safety and design standards.

Maintenance and Operations

  • Lessees (operators who lease the aircraft) must adhere to the aircraft manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and procedures, ensuring that the aircraft is maintained according to both the lessor’s and the regulatory authority’s requirements.
  • Operators must keep detailed records of all maintenance and repairs carried out on the aircraft, which should be accessible for inspection by the lessor and the relevant aviation authorities.

Registration and Marking

  • Aircraft must be properly registered with the aviation authority of the country where it is operated. The registration process involves verifying the aircraft’s ownership, lease agreement, and insurance coverage.
  • The aircraft must carry the national registration marks and comply with the identification requirements set by the aviation authority.

Insurance

  • Lessees are required to obtain adequate insurance coverage for the aircraft, including liability for passengers, third parties, and cargo, as well as hull insurance covering loss or damage to the aircraft.

Safety Management Systems (SMS)

  • Operators must have an effective Safety Management System in place, as per ICAO’s requirements, to identify safety risks and manage them proactively.

Crew Licensing and Training

  • Crew operating the leased aircraft must be properly licensed and have completed the necessary training and recurrent training to operate the specific aircraft type, including any special endorsements required.

Operational Control and Oversight

  • The lessee is responsible for ensuring the aircraft is operated in compliance with the operating regulations of the country where it is registered and any other countries it operates within. This includes compliance with flight time regulations, rest requirements for crew, and operational procedures.
  • Aviation authorities conduct regular audits and inspections to ensure compliance with safety regulations by both the lessor and lessee.

International Considerations

  • For international leases, the Cape Town Convention and its Aircraft Protocol may apply, providing a legal framework for the recognition of rights in leased aircraft across borders and detailing provisions for the registration of international interests in mobile equipment.

Compliance with these safety regulations is mandatory for both lessors and lessees to ensure the safety and airworthiness of leased aircraft throughout the lease term. Non-compliance can result in penalties, including fines and grounding of aircraft.