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About Some Aircraft Registration  
User currently offlineBio15 From Colombia, joined Mar 2001, 1089 posts, RR: 7
Posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4793 times:

Could anyone tell me why is it that some aircraft have N#### registrations, and others have different ones?

Here at Colombia some aircraft have N#### registrations. Others have HK#### registrations, and others have VP-XXX registrations. Does this have to do with the place they fly to?

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11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAmerica West From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4730 times:

All airlines in the United States have N first, 3 numbers, and then an airline code.

N420TW is the registration for a TWA 717-231.

User currently offlineLGW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4725 times:

NOT TRUE! Not all US a/c have 3 numbers and letters afterwards, look at CO's DC-10's just 5 numbers...


User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4720 times:

Its which country the airline comes from eg:

N=North America
G=Great Britain


User currently offlineBio15 From Colombia, joined Mar 2001, 1089 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4727 times:

Well it's still confusing since those aircraft on top are all Colombian and only one has the HK- registration. Check out the Aces registration which is all letters  Confused

User currently offlineMusang From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2001, 920 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4728 times:

Usually EGGD but not always. Its the country the aircraft is registered in, which is not always the airline's home.

Examples abound. Singapore Airlines for a time operated a 707 registered ET-ACQ, it belonged to Ethiopian and was on lease. Philippine Airlines 747-200s were all US registered if I remember correctly, as they were owned by a leasing company in the States. CityFlyer at Gatwick operated a Brit Air ATR 42 for several months with a French registration.

I believe in Colombia's case, an X is added to the registration to show that the aircraft is leased from abroad.

Just as ships are often registered under the Liberian flag regardless of which nationality they are, there are sometimes financial advantages to registering the aircraft in some foreign state, under a "flag of convenience". Sometimes the leasing company, the outright owner, will require it to be registered in their home country. Sometimes its a short term lease and the paperwork/expense involved in transferring ownership isn't worth the effort.

Regards - Musang

User currently offlineEricCieslar From Australia, joined Apr 2001, 45 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4695 times:

i know this stuff but im just woundering how the hell australia got stuck with VH?

User currently offlineAria From Iran, joined Oct 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4698 times:

Very Happy???

Virtually Habitable??

very helpfull?

User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 8, posted (15 years 1 month 18 hours ago) and read 4679 times:

Registrations can become confusing. Many carriers lease aircraft that can carry registrations other than their own countries for two reasons. The first is that it is a short term lease so it is not worth regegitering the aircraft, the second is that the lease company and/or insurance company does not recognise the airworthiness authorities in that nation, therefore their aircraft remain on another register.
 Smile/happy/getting dizzy

User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (15 years 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4660 times:

In alot of cases, you will see aircraft operating in far flung parts of the world with registration of a country on the other side of the globe. In many cases, these airlines will lease planes from companies, and they will keep the registration the same. Frontier Airlines has a 737-300 that still carries the rego from its Irish lessor (EI-CHH); many Aeromexico, Mexicana, and Air Jamaica planes carry U.S. registrations. In a lot of cases, they retain the registration because the aircraft is wet-leased from another airline.

User currently offlinePhilB From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (15 years 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4655 times:


Australia used to have aircraft registered in the G-AU series.

In the 1930s, it fell into line with most of the other British Dominions and possessions and took up VH -xxx.

Until quite recently all Vx-xxx registrations belonged to previously British possessions then, when Hong Kong, which was VR-H, was handed back to China, China wanted VR-xxx for itself.

This was agreed and all VR-xxx aircraft were meant to be re-registered VP-xxx.

China then decided to hang on to B- (even though this is also used by Taiwan) probably for political reasons in not wanting to acknowledge Taiwan's independence.

User currently offlinePanman From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Aug 1999, 790 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4657 times:

All aircraft (of contracting members of ICAO) are required by ICAO to carry nationality and registration marks. The nationality markings tell which country the aircraft is from - the registration markings are for record keeping. N is the nationality marking of aircraft from the USA, everything else is the aircraft's registration. Likewise VH is the nationality marking of Australian aircraft, everything after the - is the registration marking.

Without these markings, legally speaking, an aircraft can not fly over the territories of an ICAO contracting member (at least without prior commision and they may take miles of red tape).

For countries which are not contracting members they may (by agreement) use the nationality code (and thus register aircraft) of a contracting member as a "flag of convenience". This will allow them the freedom of flying over the territories of contracting ICAO member countries.

Just because an aircraft is owned in a specific country (which is a contracting member) does not mean that the aircraft has to be registered in that country. By becoming an ICAO contracting member the country has agreed to let all approapriately registered aircraft from other contracting members have the right of flight within their borders/territories.

There is an interesting twist to this due to the FAAs safety oversight program. The FAA gives countries rankings according to how safe they are (maybe someone else can expand on that and how the rankings are defined). I THINK that there are 4 ratings with 1 being the highest and 4 being the lowest. The rating that you get governs whether new routes can be opened/new aircraft used.

Countries with the lower ratings cannot operate newly purchased aircraft into the USA or it's territories. Thus to get around this they register new aircraft in another country (obviously has to be a ICAO contracting member) - or lease them and leave the aircraft registered under the lessor.

Hope this little piece of the complexities of Air Legislation was useful.


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