Business aviation has a great story to tell in the Isle of Man.
That’s the message from Simon Williams, director of civil aviation with the Isle of Man Government.
He told delegates at the Aviation Conference: ‘We have just registered our 797th aircraft - a brand new G650 - since starting on May 1, 2007.
‘Needless to say I had hoped we would be celebrating 800 registrations on our eighth birthday but we are just three short.’
Mr Williams said 70 aircraft have been registered since he started in the job last October.
The island’s aircraft registry had managed five registrations in just an hour a few weeks ago.
‘I take no credit for any of this - it is the dedicated team at the Registry working in close co-operation with our excellent industry partners that have achieved this unprecedented success. It is a real pleasure to work with such a good humoured, professional and thoroughly dedicated team on a daily basis.
‘While we are talking about numbers, for me the figure that is just as important is that we have 460 aircraft active on the register - that is a big fleet and represents many valuable existing clients for us to look after.
‘As an aside it is worth noting that we have validated in excess of 8,000 pilot licences since starting.’
Mr Williams previously held a number of challenging senior operational and staff appointments and has flown a wide variety of aircraft including Royal Air Force search and rescue Sea Kings,s pecial operations Pumas and civil aircraft including Boeing 757s and 767s, most recently for British Airways.
He told delegates: ‘Initially my main focus has been a formal review of the Registry in terms of resource against task. This review is based on incrementally building on the excellent foundations laid by my predecessors. Note the phrase ‘‘incrementally building.’’ I very much believe that if ‘‘it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’’
‘I am not looking to change anything just for the sake of it.’
He added: ‘I am focused on business continuity; how best to serve our clients in industry; and to make sure that we are well placed to support contiuned growth.’
Mr Williams revealed he is a ‘passionate advocate of business aviation and the Isle of Man.
‘I have a long association with the island having been a TT regular since 1991.
‘So I still cannot believe that I am fortunate enough to hold such a rewarding and challenging post which allows me to live on this beautiful island.’
Mr Williams said staff resources were being increased across ‘all functional areas and on a permanent basis’.
For instance a flight operations technical manager has just been appointed. He said he was soon to recruit another senior airworthiness surveyor along with a legislative officer.
‘The final tranche of recruitment based on my review will be a deputy director. It is really important that we recruit the right person for that role who I envisage will focus on the day to day management of the office thus allowing me to operate in a more outward facing manner facilitating the strategic growth of both the island’s business sector and the registry.’
Mr Williams referred to the so-called Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol which has gathered momentum around the globe.
The Convention provides a new uniform international legal order for the creation, enforcement, registration and priority of security and similar interests in high value internationally mobile equipment. The Aircraft Protocol applies this general regime with modifications to interests in ‘aircraft objects’, above a certain size.
Mr Williams said: ‘It is vital that the Isle of Man does not fall behind and maintains its competitive advantage. I have already set up a team tasked with undertaking the necessary policy and legislative review work to allow the Isle of Man to seek extension of ratification from the UK .
‘We understand the UK is planning to ratify Cape Town soon and I am keen that we are able to follow this as soon as practicable.’