The Validity and Use of Digital Aviation Documents

When we think about aviation it is not possible to split it from technology. Aircraft finance transactions involve a considerable paperwork and parties from different jurisdictions, which means different legislations that should converge to a final set of documents. Such documents must be valid and enforceable in accordance with its governing laws and with the relevant jurisdiction where the aircraft will be registered. Unfortunately, the aviation industry does not have a universal rule when the subject is the formalities for registration and admissibility of aviation documents such as leases, mortgages or other security documents. Each jurisdiction has its own rules. How the digital world with the use of cryptographic platforms can help the aviation industry to optimize the number of documents involved in aircraft finance transactions, principally optimizing time and costs with local legalizations? How the local aviation authorities have been able to adapt local rules to turn paper registries into digital registries?

Although the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Aircraft Equipment (known as the Cape Town Convention) has helped to create an international registry it was not sufficient to abolish local requirements among different jurisdictions in terms of local formalities for registrations and admissibility in local courts. The Hague Convention (known as the Apostille Convention) also established specific rules to unify the legalization formalities for documents executed among different jurisdictions. The fact that not all jurisdictions ratified the Cape Town Convention or the Apostille Convention it ends up more difficult to optimize the paperwork on aviation registration.

During the pandemic, the use of digital cryptography to execute documents facilitated aviation transactions and registrations during the temporary closure of local registries and notaries. Since then, some aviation authorities have been working to implement a 100% digital registration system like in Brazil and India. Others, like Colombia, is now hybrid accepting paper and digital documents. Most of other jurisdictions have already implemented rules for the validity of digital documents but still do not accept then in local aviation registries. In some countries, there are local electronic registries for liens even though the aviation registry itself has not developed to a digital aviation register. Countries members of the European Union have common rules for the use of digital signatures although the development for a digital aviation register has not been achieved and/or unified yet. Germany for example is well advanced in the development of a digital aviation register even though still not concluded.

Digital cryptographic platforms have been developed to facilitate international deals and ensure information security and authenticity of documents. The use of cryptographic and blockchain platforms came as a universal tool for execution of documents and formalization of transactions in any part of the World enabling a decentralized and immutable registration system.

Here the reader will be able to find a summary on how local aviation authorities and local courts among different jurisdictions have been implementing digital cryptography to expedite execution, registration and filing procedures, optimizing time and costs. We hope that in a near future aviation authorities will be able to standardize a unique digital and cryptographic registration platform facing the digital globalized world. Legislation and regulations should be developed and/or modified to rule the use of digital cryptographic platforms and not create barriers to technology developments.


Nicole René Gomes e Cunha

Nicole René Gomes e Cunha

Basch & Rameh Advogados Associados

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