One of the biggest perceived barriers to aircraft sales is the export or import question. Even we get a bit jumpy when fetching a US registered aircraft to import to Canada, Europe, or better yet, The Republic of Botswana. But here’s the thing – if you want to sell your aircraft in a timely fashion for the right price, it is best to think beyond your borders. It’s a global market and the current trend and demand is to buy in the US and sell abroad for a host of reasons.
So, it behooves any good broker or sales person to be conversant in how it works.
The Export C of A
The FAA (and select other agencies in other countries) have very clear bi-lateral agreements that resolve a lot of the redundancy that can be created by inspecting in one country (before export) and then another massive inspection in the arrival country in order to get the conformity for private or commercial registration.
The benefit to buying or exporting US aircraft is that much aviation legislation worldwide is modeled after the FARs. (Federal Aviation Regulations.) While the Canadian CARs (Canadian Aviation Regulations) aren’t identical they are very close. Stranger yet is that even less developed countries (than Canada!) have regs that you might think were copied verbatim from the FARs.
So what is the Export C of A and how does it work? In short – you get one issued and *theoretically* you can import the aircraft into the country of destination automatically. There can be no complaint raised by anyone. In practice, there are still blocks thrown up to the Export C of A and whether you want to go the UN or ICAO and sue Transport Canada for not playing ball is your call. Our experience is to know that what it is supposed to do vs. what it actually gets accomplished and to go with the latter.
It usually gains you one big thing though: You won’t have to do an annual or MPI (major periodic inspection) *again* upon arrival in a country that has a bi-lateral arrangement honoring the Export C of A. You may have to do many other unpleasant things, but what you are buying is one less inspection.
So what is the worst that can happen? You do it wrong, you rush, you hire the wrong people and your aircraft is stuck in limbo between two countries as a boat anchor. This happens. It is sad, but possible and real. It is easily preventable, though, if there is a solid checklist outlining how you’ll get from a to b.
The smoothest deals we’ve seen, in a US to Canada context (where there are just as many bad “boat anchor” deals) is where the right people were involved from start to finish.
For example, selecting the Canadian AMO (Aircraft Maintenance Organization) that will do your import matters. Why? Because they’ll have a relationship with a Minister’s Delegate who will take you through a 47 point (or something like that) checklist to see if the aircraft can be registered in Canada and given a Transport Canada airworthiness certificate. The cruel irony here is that this is required for aircraft that were originally built in Canada, be they a Bombardier Challenger or DeHavilland Twin Otter.