In order to be enforceable and ensure priority against third parties, Article L6122-8 of the Transport Code provides that aircraft mortgages must be registered with the French Aircraft Registry, which is held by the Registration Office (Bureau Immatriculation) of the French Civil Aviation Authority. (DGAC).
In accordance with Article R122-1 of the Civil Aviation Code, the beneficiaries of an aircraft mortgage must in their registration form elect domicile in the jurisdiction of the Tribunal Judiciaire, where the Registration Office is located. Election of domicile broadly works like the appointment of process agent in English law-governed documents. Mortgagees must designate a point of contact in the DGAC’s vicinity.
As of 1 January 2020, the Registration Office has relocated from Paris to Athis-Mons, approximately 20km south of Paris. As a consequence, aircraft mortgage beneficiaries must elect domicile in the jurisdiction of the Evry Tribunal Judiciaire (in the Essonne department). This will not prove too difficult for French banks, which may elect domicile at a branch in the Court of Evry’s territorial jurisdiction; however, foreign lenders and non-banking mortgagees will have to find someone (eg, anotary) who will accept such election of domicile on their behalf.
For further information on this topic please contact Thomas Boone at Odi-se Avocats by telephone (+33 1 7935 0750) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Odi-se Avocats website can be accessed at www.odise.com.