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BCAA sees benefits from relocating UK office

New location: business aircraft at Farnborough Airport, in England. The Bermuda civil Aviation Authority has moved its UK office to the airport, which is southwest of London (Photograph by MilborneOne/Wikipedia)

Switching its UK office from London to Farnborough Airport, about 40 miles southwest of the capital city, is bringing benefits for the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority.

“A big advantage is being in the aviation environment. Farnborough Airport is the largest business airport in the UK,” said Thomas Dunstan, director-general of the BCAA.

He said Bermuda’s aircraft registry has many company and corporate planes that transit through Farnborough. Having its UK office there, with BCAA inspectors on site, brings added convenience when checks are conducted on Bermudian-registered aircraft that use the airport.

The BCAA moved its satellite office to the airport in December. It has three inspectors in the UK, including newly recruited Stuart Algar and Michael Swann.

More than 800 aircraft are on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry, which is the tenth largest aircraft registry in the world. The registry has grown by 9 per cent in the past year. About 80 per cent of the aircraft on the registry are large commercial aircraft, with the remainder small aircraft, such as corporate private planes.

A team from the BCAA attended the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva last month. The event had more than 400 exhibitors from 40 countries, and attracted delegates from across Europe, Africa, Asia and the US.

“It’s a good event and allows us to catch up with our clients,” said Mr Dunstan. Bermuda has the largest offshore aircraft registry, but it is a highly competitive sector. Mr Dunstan said being at the convention in Geneva helped to keep Bermuda visible to potential new business.

The BCAA was created in 2016 and is responsible for the regulation, safety and oversight of aviation in Bermuda and all the aircraft on the island’s aircraft registry. Those responsibilities were previously done by the Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation, before being shifted to the quango two years ago. When asked what difference the change had made, Mr Dunstan said it was mostly business as usual, however it had allowed the Authority to be more adaptable to clients’ needs.

The BCAA has four inspectors in Bermuda and can call upon 20 to 25 contract inspectors elsewhere in the world to conduct aircraft inspections. Aircraft on the registry are required to have a certificate of airworthiness, which must be renewed annually.