1.1 Please list and briefly describe the principal legislation and regulatory bodies which apply to and/or regulate aviation in your jurisdiction.
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory. The Secretary of State of the United Kingdom government takes lead responsibility for ensuring that the Cayman Islands (and other overseas territories) comply with the obligations of the Chicago Convention. The Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom has established a subsidiary company, Air Safety Support International ("ASSI"), to oversee, support and promote aviation safety regulation in its overseas territories, including the Cayman Islands. ASSI is responsible for supporting the UK's overseas territories in all aspects of aviation safety regulation.
Regulatory Body: The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (the "CAACI") is the body responsible in the Cayman Islands for ensuring that civil aviation in the Cayman Islands conforms to the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization ("ICAO").
The CAACI's functions include the following:
(a) the regulatory oversight of the aviation industry throughout the Cayman Islands;
(b) the certification and licensing of aerodromes, heliports and air transportation services;
(c) registration of aircraft, including maintenance of the Cayman Islands Aircraft Register (the "Aircraft Register") and the issuance, renewal, cancellation, revocation and variation of certificates of airworthiness of aircraft;
(d) the validation of crew and maintenance personnel licences;
(e) the safety oversight of Cayman Islands Air Operator Certificate ("AOC") holders;
(f) the issuance of air transport permits and operating licences for foreign-registered scheduled and non-scheduled carriers operating in the Cayman Islands;
(g) the regulation of charges levied by airport operators;
(h) acting as liaison between the Government of the Cayman Islands and the UK Department for Transport; and
(i) regulation of air traffic.
It should be noted that the Aircraft Register is primarily for aircraft undertaking private use operations, and aircraft registered on the Aircraft Register must not be used for commercial operations (i.e. for hire or reward) unless an AOC is obtained or the aircraft falls within an Article 83 bis agreement.
The principal legislation which applies to and regulates aviation in the Cayman Islands is the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013 ("ANOTO").
Other notable legislation pertaining to the aviation industry is as follows:
- Air Navigation (Fees) Regulations, 2010.
- Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order, 2014.
- Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order, 2014.
- Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order, 2015.
- Air Transport (Licensing of Air Services) Regulations, 1977.
- Aircraft (Landing and Parking Fees) Regulations, 2020.
- Airport Regulations (1995 Revision).
- Airports Authority Law (2005 Revision).
- Civil Aviation Act 1949 (Overseas Territories) Order 1969 SI No. 592 of 1969.
- Civil Aviation Act 1982 (Overseas Territories) (No. 2) Order 2001 SI No. 3367 of 2001.
- Civil Aviation Act 1982 (Overseas Territories) Order 2001 SI No. 1452 of 2001.
- Civil Aviation Authority Law (2015 Revision).
- Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations, 2019.
- Mortgaging of Aircraft Order, 1972.
- Mortgaging of Aircraft Regulations, 2015.
The Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements ("OTARs") provide guidance to the aviation industry in the Cayman Islands (and other UK overseas territories) on the effective implementation of the standards and recommended practices under the Chicago Convention and the ANOTO.
1.2 What are the steps which air carriers need to take in order to obtain an operating licence?
Application for an AOC must be made to the CAACI as the competent authority in the Cayman Islands with responsibility for issuing operator's licences.
The operation of aircraft on a foreign air operator's certificate is permitted; however, the grant of air transport permits and operating licences by the CAACI will be required for foreign registered scheduled and non-scheduled carriers to operate in the Cayman Islands. There are minimum requirements that must be met for non-scheduled/charter air transport operations to the jurisdiction as well as scheduled/charter air transport operations to the jurisdiction together with payment of the applicable fees. In addition, companies that supply more than one-off ad hoc charters or who provide air ambulance services can be issued with either a blanket permit or verification letter.
1.3 What are the principal pieces of legislation in your jurisdiction which govern air safety, and who administers air safety?
The principal legislation in the Cayman Islands that governs air safety is the ANOTO. The CAACI is responsible for administering air safety in the jurisdiction under the provisions of ANOTO and the Civil Aviation Authority Law (2015 Revision).
1.4 Is air safety regulated separately for commercial, cargo and private carriers?
The CAACI regulates all aspects of safety in the aviation industry.
1.5 Are air charters regulated separately for commercial, cargo and private carriers?
Air charters are not regulated separately for commercial, cargo and private charters.
1.6 As regards international air carriers operating in your jurisdiction, are there any particular limitations to be aware of, in particular when compared with 'domestic' or local operators? By way of example only, restrictions and taxes which apply to international but not domestic carriers.
The Airports Authority Law (2005 Revision) provides that one of the functions of the Airports Authority is to ensure airports in the Cayman Islands conform to the standards and recommended practices of ICAO.
Pursuant to Article 135 of ANOTO, all foreign-registered aircraft operating into the Cayman Islands for valuable consideration are required to be licensed to do so by the CAACI.
1.7 Are airports state or privately owned?
Airports in the Cayman Islands are state-owned.
1.8 Do the airports impose requirements on carriers flying to and from the airports in your jurisdiction?
Airports in the Cayman Islands prescribe and regulate conditions of use, as well as charges. Users of airports are subject to charges, which are regulated by the Cayman Islands Airports Authority under the Airport Regulations (1995 Revision), the Airports (Security Tax) Regulations (2016 Revision), the Airports Authority (Charges) Regulations, 2008 and the Airports Authority Law (2005 Revision).
1.9 What legislative and/or regulatory regime applies to air accidents? For example, are there any particular rules, regulations, systems and procedures in place which need to be adhered to?
There are extensive laws, regulations and guidelines that regulate the reporting and investigation of accidents and incidents that are applicable in the Cayman Islands. These include the following:
a) ICAO Annex 13 Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation.
b) The Civil Aviation Act 1982 (Overseas Territories) Order 2001 - Article 75.
c) Memorandum of Understanding between the Governor and the UKAAIB 2006.
d) Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations, 2019.
e) Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013 - Articles 5, 7, 174, 175.
f) Overseas Territories Aviation Requirement (OTAR) Part 13 Occurrence Reporting (OTAR 13 Issue 4 dated April 2012).
g) Overseas Territories Aviation Circular (OTAC) 13-1 Occurrence Reporting (OTAC 31-1 Issue 4 dated July 2015).
The Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Reporting - Part I and Part II issued by the CAACI sets out in detail a summary of the legislation, regulations and guidelines relating to aircraft accident and incident reporting.
The Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations, 2019 provide for the Governor of the Cayman Islands to, amongst other things, appoint a chief investigator to carry out investigations into accidents involving aircraft involved in civil aviation. Accidents, Serious Incidents and Incidents (each as defined in ICAO Annex 13 Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation) are required to be reported and investigated.
1.10 Have there been any recent cases of note or other notable developments in your jurisdiction involving air operators and/or airports?
We are not aware of any cases dealing specifically with air operators and/or airports.
Originally published by International Comparative Legal Guide to Aviation Law 2021.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.