Contributor: Nassar Abogados
Author: Kelly Romero
1. Which authority is in charge of the civil aviation registry in El Salvador? Does El Salvador use a single-registry system or is there a dual-registry system in place?
No, there is no specific regulation related to the use of digital
or electronic signatures by the Aviation Authority. However, El Salvador enacted the Electronic Signature Law (“Law”), and pursuant to article 6 of the Law, a simple electronic signature shall have the same legal validity as a handwritten one. With respect to its legal effects, the simple electronic signature shall not have evidentiary validity in the same terms as those granted by this Law to the certified electronic signature; nevertheless, it N/A. may constitute an element of proof.
In addition, article 29 establishes that authorities, officials, and government employees that provide public services and perform acts within the scope of their competence may sign them by means of a simple electronic signature.
Article 30 establishes that in those cases in which government officials or employees issue any document or carry out administrative acts that grant rights, impose fines, or provide confidential information, it will be necessary to use a certified electronic signature. The certification service provider shall state in the certificate the character with which it will sign electronically, as well as the limits of its competence.
The Law expressly establishes that certified signatures cannot be used in those acts where the law specifically requires certain legal solemnities for their validity, such as mortgages. Lease agreements of aircraft registered in El Salvador must be granted or notarized in public deed before a Public Notary of El Salvador for its electronic registration at the National Registry. Accordingly, in those cases, said Law is not applicable as there is a formality of a public deed that must be complied with.
2. Is the registry an operator registry or an owner registry (or both)?
No, the Law does not regulate a specific technology. The regulation to the Law states that the digital certificate issued by the authorized certifier must comply with the following regulations: CEN EN 419 221 related to security on cryptographic modules, ETSI EN 319 411 part 1 related to digital signature and infrastructure- policies of security to companies that issue certificates; ETSI EN 319 411-1 section 6.5.2 related to cryptographic modules; ETSI EN 319 412- 1 related to digital signature and structures of common data and FIPS 140-2 level 3 related to security requirements for cryptographic modules under the program of cryptographic module validation program.
3. What are the requirements and documentation to register an aircraft in El Salvador? Include references to formalities such as notarisation, legalization, etc.
4. What fees are payable to register an aircraft in El Salvador?
5. Are there any weight and/or maximum age restrictions to register an aircraft in El Salvador?
As per consultation, the submitted question was reformulated as follows:
“Do the courts of El Salvador consider valid and enforceable documents executed by the use of some type of digital signature or certification even if not registered (or registrable) with the local Aviation Authority?”
There is no case law that refers specifically to the Aviation Authority. The enforceability of such documents will depend on the nature of the document, if it requires a formality for its validity if the document is issued in a foreign country, has a certified digital signature, if the company that provided the certificate is foreign, among others.
6. Does registration of an aircraft in the national registry constitute proof of ownership under the laws of El Salvador?
No. Currently, our legal system does not provide for electronic filing.
7. How is an aircraft title transfer effected in El Salvador? What are the formalities required to register such title transfer in the national registry of El Salvador (e.g., notarization, legalization etc.)? Please summarize the related costs and procedures.
Pursuant to the Law, the acts and contracts granted or entered into by natural persons or companies and subscribed by means of electronic signatures are valid in the same manner and produce the same effects as those executed in writing and on paper. However, if due to the nature of such acts, the regulations require them to be executed with certain formalities (before a public notary, etc.) if such documents are executed electronically, they will not be valid and will not be admissible in court.
The Law established differences between a private digital signature and a certified signature; please refer to the response to question 1. The main difference is the probatory value granted to each of them; private digital signatures will have the value that a certain court grants, subject to specific general procedural rules, and the certified firm will have per-se evidentiary value.
8. What information and details are reflected in the certificate of registration of an aircraft?
No, there are no formal requirements for a document executed by digital signatures to be valid. Article 6 of the Law establishes that a simple electronic signature shall have the same legal validity as a handwritten signature. Therefore, documents executed with digital signatures are valid as if they were executed with handwritten signatures, with the exception of those documents that require formalities for their validity (granted before public notary).
9. Are the entries in the aircraft registry of El Salvador made available to the public upon submission of a specific application to the competent authority? Are there any fees payable for this?
Documents executed outside El Salvador must follow the formalities of the country of issuance -whether the signatures are digital or not-, but to be registered in El Salvador, such documents must be apostilled. Generally, finance documents on foreign aircraft are not subject to registration.
10. What kind of aircraft operations can be conducted with aircraft registered in El Salvador (i.e., private use, commercial air transport or both)?
11. Does the civil aviation authority in El Salvador authorise the operation of foreign registered aircraft? If so, with which countries has El Salvador entered into bilateral agreements on the basis of article 83-bis of the ICAO Chicago Convention for the delegation of regulatory oversight?
a. Has El Salvador implemented the e-Apostille program?
In El Salvador, all the documents that are issued outside of the country must be apostilled or legalized and translated into Spanish. This also applies to electronically executed documents. For certain filings, documents are admitted electronically with no apostille, such as the noise certificate, airworthiness certificate, and registration certificate.
The authorities in El Salvador admit the electronic apostille from other countries, which can be validated on an official website or with a QR code. In January 2022, El Salvador implemented the e-Apostille program, and currently, the documents that are issued in El Salvador can have the physical apostille stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or they can have the electronic apostilled, which can be obtained at https://apostilla.rree.gob.sv.