We have for more than 20 years advised airlines, lessees, lessors and owners in aircraft leasing transactions and aircraft registrations in Norway. We also assist with other legal matters relating to aviation.

Below we will give an overview of Norwegian aviation and aircraft registration


1. Aviation in Norway

Norway has approximately 5,4 million inhabitants (2022). The four most populous municipalities are the capital Oslo and Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Bærum. However, people are scattered around and the distance from the southern point of Lindesnes to Norkapp is approximately 1700 km in straight line. The shortest way by car, through Sweden and Finland, is 2368 km. Thus, air travel is a very important part of the public transport system, and there are around 45 commercial airports in Norway.

The major airports are OSL Gardermoen Oslo, BGO Flesland Bergen, SVG Sola Stavanger, TRD Værnes Trondheim and TOS Langnes Tromsø. The other airports comprise around 25 short-haul airports with runways up to 1000 meters, situated at smaller places, especially in Northern Norway where the topography makes car travel very time consuming.

As of 2022, the major airlines are SAS Scandinavian Airlines System Denmark-Norway-Sweden (SAS), operating mostly Boeing 737’s and Airbus 320’s in domestic and European service, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (Norwegian) operating Boeing 737’s in domestic and European service, Widerøe AS operating mostly Bombardier Dash-8 in domestic and regional service, and Norse Atlantic Airways AS operating a fleet of Boeing 787’s on long-haul flights between Europe and the United States. Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance AS operates 10 Beech B250 Kingair and a Cessna C680A Latitude on ambulance services for Norwegian government. Norsk Luftambulanse AS operates a number of ambulance helicopters of models Airbus H135 T3H, Airbus H145 T2 og Agusta Westland..

Norwegian went through a financial reorganisation in the Irish and Norwegian courts in 2020/21. SAS entered into US Chapter 11 proceedings in the summer of 2022.

Bristow Norway AS and CHC Helikopterservice AS are the two main helicopter companies serving the North Sea oil- and gas installations.

Several international airlines have services to Norway, of which the larger part are services to Oslo.

Most of the Norwegian commercial airports are owned and operated by Avinor AS, a wholly state owned company. The regulator is the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway (NCAA), situated at Bodø in Northern Norway. A department of the NCAA is the Norwegian Civil Aircraft Register (NCAR), also in Bodø, which is almost two hours north of Oslo by commercial jet. The NCAR is an «owner register», meaning that it is the legal owner and not the operator that will be registered as owner of the aircraft.

The main Norwegian legislation is found in the Aviation Act 11 June 1993 No. 101 and various secondary legislation incorporating EU regulations and directives into Norwegian law.

Furthermore, Norway has ratified and acceded to the Cape Town convention on international interests in mobile equipment dated 16 November 2001 and protocol thereto on matters specific to aircraft equipment dated 16 November 2001. By the Act of 12 November 2010 No. 58 on International Security Rights in Mobile Equipment, the Cape Town Convention was adopted as Norwegian law. According to section 3-52 of the Aviation Act, the rules of the Cape Town Convention take, as far as they are applicable, precedence of the provisions of the Aviation Act.


2. Aircraft leasing in Norway

Norway recognizes the concept of a lease over an aircraft. The predominant part of the commercial aircraft operated by the major Norwegian airlines are in fact leased aircraft.

As most lessors are non-Norwegian entities, it is common that the lease agreements are governed by English or US laws. Norway will as a main rule recognize and enforce a lease if it is governed by such laws.

If the lease period is more than 6 months, the aircraft must be registered in the NCAR. An aircraft that is not owned by a Norwegian entity or at least 50 percent controlled by EU/EEA entities, must apply for a dispensation from the nationality requirements. Obtaining such approval is considered a formality if the lessee is an airline subject to supervision by the NCAA, and the lessee has the technical, operational and economical responsibility of the aircraft, including being responsible for inter alia insurance and maintenance of the aircraft.

Any aircraft lease agreement must be approved by the NCAA. As the NCAA reserves the right to a three weeks handling time for an application for a lease approval, such application should be filed as soon as possible at the outset of any aircraft lease transaction. It is necessary for the applicant to provide a draft lease agreement and a summary of the lease in a standard form, as attachments to the application. The lease may be filed in the English language.

A lease agreement will be recorded in the NCAA records as part of the approval procedure. This is not the same as a registration in the NCAR. The lease agreement may be registered in the NCAR, but only as an encumbrance on the aircraft in the same way as a mortgage. The lease agreement will then serve as an encumbrance for the benefit of the lessee as against the registered owner.


3. Registration of aircraft in Norway

The aircraft register in Norway (the Norwegian Civil Aircraft Register (NCAR) is maintained by the NCAA, and is an owner register.

An aircraft may be registered in the NCAR provided the nationality requirements of the Aviation Act are fulfilled.

Applicants must produce a document of title showing the owner’s rights to the aircraft. The document of title must reflect an unconditional transfer of title or ownership right and contain identification of the aircraft (registration number and/or type and serial number), the buyer’s name, address, national identity number or registration number, and the seller’s name, address, national identity number or registration number and signature.

If the seller is not Norwegian, but an EU/EEA entity, a standard form statement confirming that the legal entity is effectively controlled by EU/EEA-citizens must be enclosed. The statement must be issued by those having authority to sign on behalf of the entity and be duly confirmed by Norwegian attorneys, or by a notary confirmation with an apostille.

If the buyer is not effectively controlled by EU/EEA-citizens, an application for exemption from the nationality requirements is necessary.

For an aircraft which is transferred from an aircraft register of another country, a certificate from such aircraft register confirming that the aircraft has been deregistered, must be presented. The certificate of deregistration must contain information stating the date of deregistration, whether the aircraft was free of encumbrances at the time of deregistration and information about the last registered owner.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the registry in question is located in a country which is a party to and has ratified the Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft of June 19, 1948 no. 1, a statement regarding encumbrances will need to be given.

If the owner or seller of the aircraft is not the registered owner in the previous jurisdiction, a chain of bills of sale back to the last registration must be produced. Such bills of sale must be notarised and apostilled, which may be time consuming to obtain.

In order to have an aircraft registered in Norway, a valid certificate of airworthiness and environmental certificate for the aircraft must be issued or approved by the NCAA.

It may facilitate the registration process if a Norwegian attorney is given a power of attorney to file the application for registration of the new owner. Such application must contain a standard form Norwegian aircraft bill of sale in a template available from the NCAA (for registration purposes only) and a declaration of ownership.

Any power of attorney from the parties must be duly notarized and apostilled, and the notarisation must confirm the authority of the signatory. In some jurisdictions the notaries refuse to issue such confirmation, which may create difficulties in relation to the NCAR. The issue needs to be resolved and should be discussed with local counsel.


4. Security interests in aircraft registered in Norway

Lessors and lenders may rely on registration of security in the electronic International Registry (IR) under the Cape Town Convention, provided the requirements are met.

Additionaly, Norway will recognise an assignment of a lease agreement in so far as the money claims under the agreement are concerned.

In the case where a Norwegian aircraft mortgage deed is to be registered, the mortgagor must issue a standard form mortgage deed and a power of attorney, duly notarized and apostilled, from the mortgagor, authorizing the person(s) signing the mortgage deed to do so.

In the case where an Irrevocable De-Registration and Export Request Authorization (IDERA), issued pursuant to the Cape Town Convention, is to be registered, the issuer should issue in duplo a standard form IDERA, and provide a power of attorney, duly notarized and apostilled, from the registered owner of the aircraft authorizing the person(s) signing the IDERA to do so.

A standard deregistration power of attorney from the operator of the aircraft may not be registered in the NCAR.


5. Cape Town Convention

Norway has been a party to the Cape Town convention on international interests in mobile equipment dated 16 November 2001 and protocol thereto on matters specific to aircraft equipment dated 16 November 2001 with effect since 1 April 2011. The rules of the Cape Town Convention take as far as they are applicable precedence of the provisions of the Aviation Act.

Norway has made declarations under articles 39(1)(a) and 39(1)(b) (Rights having priority without registration), 40 (Registrable non-consensual rights or interests), 54(2) (Declaration regarding remedies) and 55 (Declarations regarding relief pending final determination) of the convention and article XXX(1), (3) and (5) (Declarations regarding certain provisions) of the aircraft equipment protocol.

According to the Act of 12 November 2010 No. 58 on International Security Rights in Mobile Equipment (the Norwegian Cape Town Act), adopting the Cape Town Convention as Norwegian law, and amending provisions in the Norwegian Enforcement Act and the Aviation Act, a security right registered in mobile aircraft equipment in accordance with the Cape Town Convention will constitute a basis for enforcement in Norway in accordance with the provisions of the Cape Town Convention or of the Norwegian Enforcement Act.

Norway has pursuant to Article 54 of the convention declared that any remedies available to the creditor under the convention may be exercised without court intervention or action, unless the intervention of the court is expressly required by the provisions of the convention. However, physical self-help is not allowed in Norway, and if the lessee resists repossession of the aircraft, the owner must request assistance from the Norwegain authorities. Such assistance is supposed to be rendered swiftly and without unneccesary court hearings.

As to a bankruptcy in the lessee, alternative A of Article XI of the proyocol shall apply to all types of insolvency proceedings and the waiting period for purposes of Article XI(3) is 60 days.


6. Enforcement and repossession of aircraft

The owner may repossess the aircraft either in accordance with the mandatory provisions of the Norwegian Enforcement Act, or in accordance with the Cape Town Convention. In respect of the former, we refer to our article in the IBA publication Aircraft Repossession and Enforcement Practical Aspects Volume II.

However, as Norway is a party to the Cape Town Convention since 2011, we believe that repossession of an aircraft in Norway is more likely to be carried out in accordance with the procedures of the convention.

The content of this overview is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Org.nr. NO 929 715 659 MVA
P.O.Box 235, 1301 Sandvika, Norway

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