Contributor: Higgs and Johnson
Author: Andre W. Hill and Keith O. Major, Jr.
1. Which authority is in charge of the civil aviation registry in Bahamas? Does Bahamas use a single-registry system or is there a dual-registry system in place?
The validity and enforceability of electronic signatures in The Bahamas is governed by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, Ch.337A (the “ECTA”). There are no digital platforms for the execution of documents.
2. Is the registry an operator registry or an owner registry (or both)?
Pursuant to Section 9(1) of the ECTA, documents may be signed electronically if a method is used to identify the signatory or indicate that the person intended to sign or otherwise adopt the information in the electronic communication . Section 9(3) of the ETCA provides that an electronic signature may be proved in any manner, including by showing that a procedure existed by which it is necessary for a party, in order to proceed further with a transaction , to have executed a symbol or security procedure for the purpose of verifying that electronic communication is that of such party.
Section 4 of the ECTA excludes the use of e-signatures for (among others) deeds. Provided that none of the types of documents referred to in question 1 are expressed to be a deed, the use of electronic signatures is permissible.
3. What are the requirements and documentation to register an aircraft in Bahamas? Include references to formalities such as notarisation, legalization, etc.
No, The Bahamas does not use an electronic register for documents affecting the title of aircraft registered in The Bahamas.
4. What fees are payable to register an aircraft in Bahamas?
5. Are there any weight and/or maximum age restrictions to register an aircraft in Bahamas?
No, there is no such documentation.
6. Does registration of an aircraft in the national registry constitute proof of ownership under the laws of Bahamas?
It is possible for this to be done in a portion of the judicial system that deals solely with industrial employment complaints, namely The Bahamas Industrial Tribunal. However, the electronic filing of documents is not yet supported by The Bahamian Supreme Court nor the other judicial offices.
7. How is an aircraft title transfer effected in Bahamas? What are the formalities required to register such title transfer in the national registry of Bahamas (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
Pursuant to Section 4(c) of the ECTA, the provisions of the ECTA providing for electronic signatures are not extended to court orders or notices or official court documents which are required to be executed in connection with court proceedings. As such, the courts of The Bahamas do not accept procedural documents being executed digitally.
8. What information and details are reflected in the certificate of registration of an aircraft?
Pursuant to Section 5(2) of the ECTA, a transaction that has been conducted using electronic means shall not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability because of the type or method of electronic communication, electronic signature or electronic authentication selected by the parties. As mentioned in our response under question 2 above, an electronic signature may be proven in any manner, including executing a symbol or security procedure for the purpose of verifying that it is the signature of such party. In our view, it is advisable that (i) the parties agree that electronic signatures may be used; (ii) the type of electronic signature used is unique to the signatory; and/ or (iii) the method creating the electronic signature contains components which together are unique to the signatory for identification purposes.
9. Are the entries in the aircraft registry of Bahamas made available to the public upon submission of a specific application to the competent authority? Are there any fees payable for this?
Yes, this is possible, so long as the provisions of the ECTA referred to above are observed.
10. What kind of aircraft operations can be conducted with aircraft registered in Bahamas (i.e., private use, commercial air transport or both)?
11. Does the civil aviation authority in Bahamas authorise the operation of foreign registered aircraft? If so, with which countries has Bahamas entered into bilateral agreements on the basis of article 83-bis of the ICAO Chicago Convention for the delegation of regulatory oversight?
a. Has The Bahamas implemented the e-Apostille program?
If the documents are to be recorded at the Bahamian Registrar General’s Department pursuant to the provisions of the Registration of Records Act (RRA), there are notary and apostille requirements. Recording at the Registry of Records, inter alia, requires an affidavit to be sworn by each witness to the execution of the document before a notary public. If the execution takes place outside of The Bahamas, the affidavit must be apostilled or legalised for use in The Bahamas. If the execution of the document is not witnessed, then each executing party must swear an affidavit of due execution before a notary public.
Section 16 of the ECTA specifically provides that a document may be notarized using an electronic signature. It should be noted that, as a matter of practice, the Registry of Records is reluctant to accept documents executed and notarized using electronic signatures.
a. There is no e-Apostille program in The Bahamas.
Electronic communication is defined in the ECTA as information which is communicated, processed, recorded, displayed, created, stored, generated, received or transmitted by electronic means.
Transaction is defined in the ECTA as an action or set of actions relating to the conduct of business, consumer, or commercial affairs between two or more persons, including the sale, lease, exchange, licensing, or other disposition of personal property, including goods and intangibles, interest in real property, services, or any combination of the foregoing.
Security procedure is defined in the ECTA as a procedure, established by law or agreement or knowingly adopted by each party, that is employed for the purpose of verifying that an electronic signature, communication or performance is that of a particular person or for detecting changes or errors in content of an electronic communication.