The Devil in the Details: the Bill of Sale

The Devil in the Details: the Bill of Sale

September 16, 2019

An often-overlooked part of the transaction process that can affect timing of the closing and a successful registration of an aircraft after closing is the Bill of Sale.

A Bill of Sale is a document that proves the aircraft has been sold and ownership has been transferred (there is no official “Title” for aircraft, so in essence this is what that is).

Oftentimes a bill of sale is required for exporting an aircraft onto a different register in order to prove the owner applying to register the aircraft actually owns the plane. Keep in mind, a Bill of sale is not always required – some registers will register an aircraft without one, so ask your broker about the rules of the register affecting your transaction. With today’s aircraft transactions crossing multiple jurisdictions and being more global than ever, knowing the specific requirements of the import country regarding the Bill of Sale is vital.

Several registers have very specific requirements that must be met regarding the Bill of Sale before they allow an aircraft to be registered. For example, many Eastern European countries require an original copy of the Bill of Sale before they will register it. If your escrow agent is in the USA, getting the original document couriered over will add time to this process. Some countries want an original notarized copy which, outside of the USA, can be a timely, costly and cumbersome task. We have had some countries require an apostilled version of the Bill of Sale which requires going to a government office. None of these tasks are insurmountable, but they do require forward planning and knowledge.

All these differences and regulations are why it is important to know the details of the registering country before the time of export comes to avoid a mad scramble to fulfil the requirements needed. Your broker will be the one to guide you through what to expect for your aircraft and how to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.