Contributor: João Marques de Almeida, Alves Pereira & Teixeira de Sousa
1. Which authority is in charge of the civil aviation registry in Portugal? Does Portugal use a single-registry system or is there a dual-registry system in place?
The National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) is the official entity responsible for the National Aircraft Registry.
2. Is the registry an operator registry or an owner registry (or both)?
The National Aircraft Registry is an owner registry, although other parties with a relevant interest in the aircraft will also be included in said registry (i.e., lessee, mortgagee, etc). Aircraft operators must also be duly licensed by ANAC and each aircraft they use must be included in their respective Aircraft Operator Certificate (AOC).
4. What fees are payable to register an aircraft in Portugal?
If the aircraft has never been registered in Portugal, registration fees shall be of approximately 900.00 EUR for the registration of the aircraft, two engines, and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU).
5. Are there any weight and/or maximum age restrictions to register an aircraft in Portugal?
There are no weight or age limitations as long as the aircraft is EASA type approved and is in an airworthy condition (as per EASA standards). However, a local airport must be appointed as the main base of operation for the aircraft and said airport must also be duly certified for the operation of the aircraft.
6. Does registration of an aircraft in the national registry constitute proof of ownership under the laws of Portugal?
Yes, and reported back to the date the registration application and all required documents were initially filed with ANAC.
7. How is an aircraft title transfer effected in Portugal? What are the formalities required to register such title transfer in the national registry of Portugal (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
A bill of sale or a purchase and sale agreement, together with the original aircraft registration certificate (which shall be cancelled by ANAC), will be sufficient as long as the aircraft is already registered in Portugal. The aforementioned documents must be submitted by the new owner of the aircraft to ANAC with the application for the aircraft registration.
ANAC only accepts original documents or certified true copies of the documents, and all signatures must be duly notarized. Any document issued in a foreign country must be legalised at a Portuguese Consulate or Embassy or have the apostille of the Hague Convention (for signatory countries only).
Documents are accepted in Portuguese or English and certificates are also issued by ANAC in Portuguese or English.
The associated cost with the aircraft registration is 72.33 EUR (or fifty percent of this amount if the applicant is an aero club) only.
8. What information and details are reflected in the certificate of registration of an aircraft?
The Certificate of Registration includes information on the aircraft manufacturer, model, manufacturer serial number, Portuguese registration number, and title owner. However, ANAC also issues certified statements with all registry entries pertaining to the aircraft (see question nine below), including:
- aircraft owner and date of purchase;
- engine manufacturer, model and manufacturer serial number;
- Auxiliary Power Unit manufacturer, model, and manufacturer serial number;
- date of lease and identification of the lessee; and
- full details in respect to any other registered interest on the aircraft (co-ownership/fractional ownership, mortgages and other liens or incumbrances).
9. Are the entries in the aircraft registry of Portugal made available to the public upon submission of a specific application to the competent authority? Are there any fees payable for this?
Yes, ANAC provides certified and complete information on all aircraft registry entries upon request and at no charge. The information is provided in Portuguese or English.
10. What kind of aircraft operations can be conducted with aircraft registered in Portugal (i.e., private use, commercial air transport or both)?
Aircraft operations can be conducted in Portugal for private use, commercial air transport, and for aerial work, depending on the aircraft type and operator’s license.
11. Does the civil aviation authority in Portugal authorise the operation of foreign registered aircraft? If so, with which countries has Portugal entered into bilateral agreements on the basis of article 83-bis of the ICAO Chicago Convention for the delegation of regulatory oversight?
Portugal has entered into bilateral agreements with Spain and Italy for the transfer of oversight responsibilities under article 83-bis of the Chicago Convention. Other ad hoc bilateral agreements for individual aircrafts have also been signed by Portugal (with Austria, Belgium, United Kingdom, and Romania). A full list is available at ICAO’s website (https://www.icao.int/secretariat/legal/83bis/forms/allitems.aspx).
12. Is there a separate register of aircraft mortgages and/or leases and/or security interests in Portugal?
No, all security liens and other relevant interests on the aircraft are registered with the National Aircraft Registry.
13. What are the formalities required to register a mortgage / lease / security interest in the national registry of Portugal (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
ANAC only accepts original or certified true copies of the documents, and all signatures must be duly notarized. Any document issued in a foreign country must be legalised at a Portuguese Consulate or Embassy or have the apostille of the Hague Convention (for signatory countries only).
Documents are accepted in Portuguese or English, and certificates are also issued by ANAC in Portuguese or English.
To apply for the registration of a mortgage, lease, or other security interest the following documents must be submitted to ANAC:
- the lease or security agreement or similar instrument or notarial deed containing a valid constitution of a mortgage; and
- The registration application form.
The registration fees (for mortgages only) must be paid upon submission of the aforementioned documents, which are calculated as following: full amount covered by the mortgage divided by 100,000. Please note that there is a minimum and a maximum amount for registration fees, which are €72.33 and €947.72, respectively.
14. Is a mortgage priority notice an available security instrument for aircraft financiers in Portugal?
No. Only fully binding mortgages can be registered.
15. Does an aircraft mortgage duly registered in the national registry of Portugal extend to engines and other parts of such aircraft (either installed or not on the airframe)?
Engines can be either registered as part of an aircraft or subject to a separate registry entry as autonomous equipment. Registered mortgages shall extend to the engines unless said engines are subject to a separate registry entry.
16. What statutory liens (if any) would rank prior to an aircraft mortgage duly registered in the national registry of Portugal?
The following rights will have precedence:
- tax debts over the aircraft,
- possessory liens (see question 17) and
- other previously registered security interest.
17. Do the laws of Portugal provide for possessory rights and/or rights of detention over aircraft in favor of third parties (such as airport taxes, customs duties, air navigation charges, crew’s wages, MRO’s receivables)?
For unpaid airport charges, the airport operator may detain any asset of the debtor located in the airport premises, including aircraft, to secure payment of the debt and accrued interest. The said airport Authority also has special security over the property of the said assets for the payment of the debt (i.e., the credit has priority over other debts).
Portugal is part of Eurocontrol and the Multilateral Agreement relating to Route Charges. As such, proceedings for recovery of the amount due to Eurocontrol could be instituted by Eurocontrol or at Eurocontrol’s request by the Portuguese Air Navigation Authority.
MROs have the right to detain the aircraft and/or engines to secure payment for any work performed in those assets.
18. Are foreign law-governed security agreements (e.g., mortgages) recognized in Portugal in order to validly create a security interest over an aircraft registered in the national registry of Portugal? If so, are there any formalities/requirements to bear in mind?
Any mortgage on an aircraft registered in Portugal must be created and governed by Portuguese law. Said mortgage shall only be effectively constituted and enforceable upon registration with the National Aircraft Registry.
19. Are foreign law-governed leases recognized in Portugal in order to validly lease an aircraft registered in the national registry of Portugal to a lessee incorporated in Portugal? If so, are there any formalities/requirements to bear in mind?
Parties are generally free to choose the law governing the lease agreement as long as the general principles of Portuguese public order are duly respected. The validity of the lease agreement should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Lease agreements should be registered with the National Aircraft Registry. Whenever the lessee is an airline, the lease must be duly justified and preapproved by ANAC.
20. Has Portugal ratified the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the related Aircraft Protocol? Has Portugal made any declarations to better determine the scope of application of the Convention / Protocol in Portugal? If so, what is the impact of such declarations on aircraft registration issues? Are there any specific aspects relating to the enforcement of IDERA’s to be considered?
Portugal is not a signatory party to the Cape Town Convention.
21. What are the requirements and documentation to deregister an aircraft from Portugal? How does the aircraft deregistration process work?
Any prior registered lien to the aircraft must be cancelled or the prior consent of the lessee and/or mortgager must be duly obtained in writing. Subsequently, an application must be filed with the Portuguese Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) requesting the deregistration of the aircraft.
The original aircraft registration certificate must be physically returned to ANAC, and all logbooks and other technical documents from the aircraft must be cancelled by ANAC. An Export Certificate of Airworthiness should be requested in advance (when applicable).
22. What fees are payable to deregister an aircraft from Portugal?
Fees are 38.91 EUR for the deregistration certificate to be issued. Additional 100.26 EUR shall be required if an Export Certificate of Airworthiness is also requested.
23. Is the consent of the mortgagee / lessor (as the case may be) required in order to deregister an aircraft from Portugal?
Yes, and said consent must be duly notarised and legalised.
24. What are the usual practical difficulties (if any) involved in deregistering aircraft from Portugal?
Cooperation from the lessee or a court repossession order (injunction proceedings are available) are generally required to regain physical access to the aircraft, logbooks, and other technical documents. Evidence on the rightful termination of the lease agreement must also be submitted to ANAC.
To facilitate the deregistration procedure, an irrevocable power of attorney is usually granted by the lessee in favour of the aircraft lessor/owner (similar to IDERA under the Capet Town convention).
25. How long does deregistration take, both where there is co-operation from the defaulted party (mortgagor / lessee / Operator) and where there is no such co-operation from it?
The deregistration procedure is fairly quick if there is cooperation from the defaulted party. This should not take more than a few days. However, if the defaulted party denies access to the aircraft, logbooks, and other technical documents, court proceedings will have to be instituted to regain repossession of the aircraft. Urgent injunction proceedings are available. In this case, it will take more time to deregister the aircraft and these cases will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
26. Please outline the applicable repossession rules under the national laws of Portugal (and the Cape Town Convention, if applicable) following an event of default under a mortgage or a lease, including registration issues with the national registry in Portugal.
Self-remedies are generally not allowed under Portuguese law. However, the lessee is usually required to grant an irrevocable power of attorney to the lessor/owner as a precondition for the lease agreement. With said irrevocable power of attorney, the lessor shall be entitled to act on behalf of the lessee in order to have access to the aircraft, logbooks, and other technical documents and cancel the lease with the National Aircraft Registry and apply for the deregistration and export of the aircraft.
If the lessee does not cooperate and/or challenges the validity of the irrevocable power of attorney, repossession must be effected by order of the court. As mentioned in the answer to the previous question, urgent injunction proceedings are available to seek immediate repossession of the aircraft (provisional possession). The main court claim for effective possession must be filed within 30 days after provisional repossession is granted by the court in the prior injunction proceedings.