Winner of Customer Service Award 2012 – Isle of Man Aircraft Registry.
The registry delivers a service to some of the most demanding customers in the world – and they do it so well that they were voted best in the world in a prestigious poll of lawyers worldwide.
No surprise, then, that the team at Isle of Man Aircraft Registry also picked up the Award for Customer Service at last year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence.
‘In aviation terms, everyone strives for very high standards of safety and we all have common international standards to achieve, but the differentiator for the Isle of Man is the pragmatic, practical, customer-focussed attitude of the registry,’ says director of civil aviation, Hartley Elder.
While, in some competitor jurisdictions it can sometimes takes weeks for a potential client to locate and talk to the correct person, or get a reply to an email, the registry on the island is very proud of the way customers can easily access someone who can talk to them and find them answers. They have made customer service and going the extra mile the Isle of Man’s unique selling point.
To explain a little of how it works, here is a typical scenario for the team at the registry…
An aircraft is being delivered, brand-new, from a factory in Savannah, Georgia. It’s going to be registered on the island, under the auspices of the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry and there is a procedure to be followed in order to ensure that this is done correctly and conforms to the rigorous safely standards the industry demands.
Before the aircraft left the factory, one of the registry’s airworthiness surveyors travelled to Sanannah to carry out all the technical checks required.
The airworthiness surveyor arrived at Heathrow and whilst transferred to Gatwick to fly home to the Isle of Man home to the Isle of Man, was in contact with Savannah to close a small number of outstanding actions. Staff at the registry stayed on till 7pm for last administrative tasks to be completed and the aircraft to be registered and its documentation issued.
When the aircraft arrived at Ronaldsway the following morning – a Saturday – someone staff from a local corporate service provider and law firm processed the aircraft for importation into Europe and payment of VAT. Although not strictly required, Hartley Elder was also on hand himself to complete the exchange of certificates:
‘We’re very keen that the documentation should be as professionally presented as the aircraft itself,’ he says.
About 40 minutes after it arrived, the aircraft took off again and flew to Dublin where the proud new owner was waiting to see it.
The aircraft in this case was a Gulfstream G650, one of the new breed of sleek, large cabin jets which can fly distances of up to 6,000 miles in one hop. It was going into service as a corporate jet, bought to fly executives and key company staff around the world. Not only will it allow them to avoid time in airports and flying to an airlines schedule, it will also afford them the comfort and facilities to continue working while on board.
It may be a very high-value asset but it will earn its keep.
There are lots of spin-offs for the island from aircraft that are registered here. Many of them will be owned by companies formed on the island for this purpose, which means business for corporate service providers and law firms. Then there is the VAT share when tax on the new purchase is paid here. Not to mention the landing fees and refuelling charges, even hotels and restaurants when crews have to stay here overnight.
‘The aeroplane is essentially the vehicle to enable the private sector people to diversify and prosper and it is hoped that they can also gain other work from these high net worth individuals or blue chip companies –assisting with their other portfolios or wealth management issues,’ says Hartley Elder.
Not only does the aircraft registry bring business, it doesn’t cost taxpayers on the island a penny, as he explains: ‘After our first year of existence we became cost-neutral to the island’s tax payers so we don’t cost anything to the exchequer here but we generate these opportunities for the private sector.
‘In actual fact we are too successful, we’re growing too fast and we are actually making profits but equally we’re now going to have to invest in better computer systems so the little bit of profit will be re-invested to make us more efficient and to be able to continue the growth of the registry.’
This, he adds, is his biggest worry: continuing that growth whilst also maintaining the high standards of service. With more than 600 aircraft registered and more than 400 currently on the register, they are adding over a hundred additional aircraft per year. Each aircraft has to be surveyed and checked for air worthiness not only before it goes on the register but also annually on an ongoing basis:
‘That’s more than one renewal per calendar day on average and two additional aircraft per week, so in terms of growth it certainly keeps everyone busy and that really is my biggest challenge: everyone wants to join our register and we have to maintain the growth and still deliver the service.’
Could you demonstrate to the judges how you give your customers exceptional service?
Everyone who enters the Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence will tell you it’s a marvellous experience – especially if you win.
Hartley Elder says of winning the award for Customer Service last year:
‘To receive an award on the island was fabulous: it’s local recognition of how well we’re doing but it was also wonderful to win a customer service award when you’re part of the government – to be competing against the private sector which traditionally, you would think, would always outstrip a government department.’
This year’s Award for Customer Service is being sponsored by The Claremont Hotel. The award is one of sixteen on offer, including Company of the Year, Young Achiever and Volunteer of the Year.
This year’s Awards night takes place on November 21. The event will be compered by Hugh Dennis, star of the hit TV comedy ‘Outnumbered’, and screened live via the web to a worldwide audience.
For further details on how to enter the awards, please contact Trudi Williamson at Isle of Man Newspapers on 695695.