Officials with the National Business Aviation Association are warning aircraft owners that the clock is ticking down to register your aircraft before the end of the year.
The reason: Ongoing backlogs at the FAA Civil Aviation Registry.
NBAA officials note that the end of the year always brings a rush to close aircraft transactions and obtain new registrations.
But the high number of transactions in 2022 has led to backlogs as long as six months in processing documents at the registry, they noted.
The average time to expedite registrations that require a temporary certificate of aircraft registration to operate — known as “fly wire” — have doubled or even tripled, NBAA officials said.
That, along with the possibility of reduced operating hours at the registry over the holiday season, may be problematic for aircraft owners hoping to put their new aircraft into service by the end of 2022 to meet IRS requirements to claim 100% bonus depreciation before it drops to 80% in 2023, association officials added.
“The IRS doesn’t care if the FAA is behind on its registrations,” said David Hernandez, business aviation and regulation sub-practice chair at law firm Vedder Price. “You also can’t blame the FAA for your tax problem if you claim the aircraft was put in service when it wasn’t flyable.”
In cases involving currently U.S.-registered aircraft operating within the United States, the owner may operate the aircraft within the U.S. for as long as 90 days on a copy of the aircraft registration application as their paperwork is being processed. The registry has also been known to grant extensions for additional delays on its end.
International operations, however, will require the fly wire. Pre-buy inspection squawks, paperwork delays, and numerous other factors can also mean further delays, making it imperative that aircraft buyers and sellers approach the transaction with realistic expectations, NBAA officials said.
“The FAA will likely receive hundreds of fly wire requests over the last two weeks of the year,” Hernandez said. “Send yours in on Dec. 28 and the FAA may not be able to do it.”
NBAA officials noted they are in communication with the FAA regarding the backlog at the registry and the FAA’s plan to reduce the delays, including adding staffing and extending the registration validity period through rulemaking.