Contributor: CR Partners, in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners
Author: Adi Brovina, Ermal Mema
1. Which authority is in charge of the civil aviation registry in Albania? Does Albania use a single-registry system or is there a dual-registry system in place?
Electronic signatures and electronic documents in Albania are governed by various pieces of legislation, namely, Law no. 9880, dated 25.02.2008, “On electronic signature” (“E-Signature Law”), Law no. 10273, dated 29.04.2010 “On electronic document,” Law no. 107/2015 “On electronic identification and trusted services” and the respective secondary legislation. The government has currently completed the public consultation and is expected to submit to the Parliament a new draft law, “On Electronic Identification and Trust Services,” aiming to fully transpose the EU eIDAS Regulation.
The aforementioned legal rules also apply to state authorities, including the Albanian Civil Aviation Authority (“ACAA”); however, the use and submission of documents with electronic signatures with ACAA are not very common, and an established practice has not been implemented yet, and therefore we strongly recommend submitting documents signed in wet ink.
2. Is the registry an operator registry or an owner registry (or both)?
The E-signature Law defines three types of e-signatures: (i) simple, (ii) advanced, and (iii) qualified electronic signature; however, only a qualified electronic signature ensures full equivalence in terms of validity and enforceability with that of a handwritten/wet-ink signature.
A Remote Signing Service Platform (esign.akshi.gov.al) has been established by the National Agency of Information Society (“NAIS”), which issues qualified certificates for electronic signatures and electronic seals. This type of certificate is issued inter alia to natural persons (i.e., Albanian citizens associated with a private entity in Albania or foreign citizens employed or owning a business in Albania) and is used in the Remote Singing Service Platform for the purpose of supporting electronic signing of documents.
In interactions with Albanian authorities, as a rule, only a qualified electronic signature issued by a trust service provider in Albania would be accepted as a valid electronic signature. In addition, the use of electronic signatures is not possible for documents requiring the notarial form or signed before a notary public.
Electronic signatures issued by foreign service providers are recognized and enforced in Albania in compliance with the bilateral agreements entered into force between the Republic of Albania and third countries on the recognition of electronic signatures and data exchange. Electronic signatures issued by
service providers operating in the EU and duly accredited by the competent authority in the EU have the same legal validity and probationary force as those issued from an Albanian service provider.
3. What are the requirements and documentation to register an aircraft in Albania? Include references to formalities such as notarisation, legalization, etc.
No, the electronic register is not yet in place.
4. What fees are payable to register an aircraft in Albania?
5. Are there any weight and/or maximum age restrictions to register an aircraft in Albania?
Except for documents required under the notarial form, all other documents may be signed by a qualified electronic signature with a legal effect equal to that of a handwritten signature (please refer to our answer under question 2).
6. Does registration of an aircraft in the national registry constitute proof of ownership under the laws of Albania?
No, this is not possible.
7. How is an aircraft title transfer effected in Albania? What are the formalities required to register such title transfer in the national registry of Albania (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
The E-Signature Law does not distinguish between official digital signatures and private digital signatures.
However, courts accept only a limited number of documents executed digitally which are issued online through the governmental platform e-Albania (i.e., commercial company excerpt, certificate of social contribution, etc.). For these documents, simple hard copies with no additional certification by public authorities can be submitted. Documents executed digitally by other public authorities can be submitted, provided that the hard copies are certified by the authority which has issued the document. For all other documents executed digitally (with a qualified electronic signature), the secondary legislation for certification of hard copies by a public notary has not yet been enacted, and the court can refuse to consider them.
8. What information and details are reflected in the certificate of registration of an aircraft?
There is no legal obligation to explicitly state in the agreement that the contract will be signed with an electronic signature; however, agreements signed electronically are valid only if all parties sign electronically.
9. Are the entries in the aircraft registry of Albania made available to the public upon submission of a specific application to the competent authority? Are there any fees payable for this?
Foreign entities not located in Albania may execute Lease Agreements or Finance Documents with digital signatures in accordance with the law of the country governing the documents. If documents are governed by Albanian law, a qualified electronic signature must be used to ensure full validity and enforceability with that of a handwritten/wet-ink signature. However, please note that submission of electronic documents with electronic signature with the ACAA is still not possible and authenticated hard copies will be required (please refer to the answer under question 11).
Regarding other formalities on foreign documents, they must be apostilled or legalized and translated into Albanian in order to be filed with ACAA.
10. What kind of aircraft operations can be conducted with aircraft registered in Albania (i.e., private use, commercial air transport or both)?
The aviation industry in Albania does not use blockchain technology yet.
11. Does the civil aviation authority in Albania authorise the operation of foreign registered aircraft? If so, with which countries has Albania entered into bilateral agreements on the basis of article 83-bis of the ICAO Chicago Convention for the delegation of regulatory oversight?
As a rule, documents submitted with ACAA are not required to be signed before a notary (for e.g., lease agreement, IDERA, etc.); however, for certain documents, the law may explicitly require the notarial form (for e.g., certain security agreements governed by Albanian law). In practice, documents are submitted either as originals or certified copies (by a notary public) thereof.
Documents executed digitally by Albanian public authorities can be submitted to ACAA in hard copy provided that the hard copies are certified by the authority which has issued the document. Regarding private documents executed digitally (with a qualified electronic signature) and governed by Albanian law, the secondary legislation for certification of hard copies by a public notary has not yet been enacted, and the ACAA can refuse to consider them.
The form of foreign-law documents (including signature) must comply with the laws of the jurisdiction governing the document. As a matter of practice, when foreign public documents or private documents governed by foreign law are submitted to Albanian authorities, hard copies authenticated by a notary
public of such jurisdiction may be required and not just simple copies (i.e., the printed version of the electronic document). In such case, the applicant should make sure that under the laws of the jurisdiction where the document is issued or signed, a notary of that jurisdiction can authenticate the copy of the document signed through an electronic signature of any kind and that the apostille seal can be affixed accordingly (unless the apostille seal is not required for specific countries based on bilateral agreements).
In the event the foreign country is not a member of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, “Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents”, documents issued in such country must undergo the legalization process.
a. Has Albania implemented the e-Apostille program?
Albania has not implemented the e-Apostille program. Therefore, documents intended for Albania must be provided with an apostille in paper form