Experienced aviation expert Brian Johnson has climbed back into the cockpit as the Government’s air industry boss.
And Mr Johnson told Business News he’s loving the challenge of taking over again as director of civil aviation.
He’s only been back in the post since the start of May and already business is booming as he has hit the ground running.
He said: ‘In the first 15 days of May the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry has received 15 new applications for aircraft registration.That is the equivalent of a normal months applications!’
Mr Johnson has taken up the role on an interim basis until a replacement is found for outgoing director Hartley Elder.
So it means he is now wearing two hats as he is also director of operations at Appleby Aviation Ltd in the island.
Mr Johnson said Appleby had given their blessing for him to carry on the two roles.
He originally founded the Aircraft Registry in May 2007 and was there for five years.
Returning to the job has been an eye-opener for Mr Johnson as the registry team currently register around 100 high quality business jets a year, around two a week, and there are now around 700 aircraft on the register.
Mr Johnson said: ‘I am proud to have helped lay the foundations for the success of the Aircraft Registry, it was my baby so to speak, and I am enjoying returning as the interim director of civil aviation alongside my Appleby commitments until the department can recruit a new director.’
Mr Johnson told Business News he was relishing the opportunities although he spends long hours working in his busy roles- a 14 hour day took place last week for instance.
He told how earlier this month a Gulfstream 650 - the current favourite vehicle for business travellers - arrived in the island from Las Vegas.
It had completed the journey in eight hours travelling at a speed of mach .9.
The plane’s owner chose to come to the island for the paperwork to be completed to import it into Europe.
Minister for Economic Development John Shimmin MHK has said: ‘It is vital that the world knows we remain open for business while we recruit a replacement for Hartley.
‘Brian Johnson founded the Aircraft Registry and is a well-known figure in the industry, both in the Isle of Man and further afield, so I am grateful to his current employers Appleby (Isle of Man) LLC for agreeing to this interim solution.
‘The Department is currently advertising to recruit his replacement. However, realistically there will be a gap of at least three months between Hartley’s departure and the arrival of the new DCA, depending on the successful candidate’s availability. ‘
This week Mr Johnson is in Geneva, Switzerland attending the EBACE event, one of the world’s biggest trade shows. The island will be well represented there.
Other firms there include island firm Abacus Aviation.
TheEuropean Business Aviation Convention (EBACE) is the annual meeting place for the European business aviation community and takes place from today (Tuesday) to Thursday.
John-Michael McCann is representing fiduciary services specialist, Abacus.
Before going out there he said: ‘EBACE is one of the biggest events on the aviation industry’s calendar. I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet with other representatives in the industry to whom I can promote the Isle of Man as an international aviation jurisdiction.
‘The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry is now recognised as one of the top aircraft registers in the world.
M registration prefix
‘With its high regulatory standards, a sound international reputation, competitive scheme of charges, politically neutral ‘M’ registration prefix and customer focused service; it offers a number of benefits to any aircraft owner.
‘EBACE will provide a great networking platform for us to promote the potential benefits available to owners using the Isle of Man for aircraft importation, ownership and registration, and to promote Abacus Aviation’s full range of aircraft ownership structures and associated services to the event’s vast and diverse audience.’
Aviation services provider Equiom is exhibiting at EBACE to showcase its recently launched customs warehouse facility.
This year the Equiom Aviation team will be on hand to discuss the various services they provide including the advantages of its Customs Warehouse facility which is available through both the Isle of Man and the UK.
Equiom’s VAT Director, Steve Cain said: ‘Each client’s situation is different and will require a bespoke solution. EBACE provides a face to face meeting point to enable us to quickly understand the needs of the client.
‘Our comprehensive range of aviation services including ownership structuring, customs warehousing, multi-jurisdictional VAT, tax and registration services ensure that our team is well placed to provide a tailored and complete service’.
Steve added, ‘Our customs warehouse facility is particularly useful in a variety of circumstances where an owner, broker or operator may want to bring an aircraft into the EU and suspend the requirement to pay up to 27 per cent VAT and 2.7 per cent Customs Duty.
This new facility bridges a gap in the aviation services market, and to date feedback has been extremely positive’.
Joining Steve at EBACE will be Marina Gall (head of yachting and aviation), Andrew Wilson (VAT manager), Sophie Campbell (business development officer) and John Hills (aviation consultant).