There are fewer than five planes on Jersey’s ill-fated Aircraft Registry as it aims to take flight again as the world’s first “blockchain-enabled” version.
Formed in 2015, the Registry was supposed to register new, or nearly new, high-value private and corporate aircraft, with an ambition of generating up to £20m per year.
But the Government decided to put the brakes on the idea after it emerged that it had attracted just two aircraft in 16 months at a cost of around £900,000 in public money.
A private provider agreed to take over the running of the registry in November 2019, when only one aircraft was registered – but it emerged in summer 2021 that responsibility fell back to Ports of Jersey after the company pulled out.
The website has since rebranded, with the registry now advertised as “the world’s first” to be “blockchain-enabled.”
“The Port of Jersey’s aim is to replace a complex, confusing and slow registration system with a streamlined digital process secured by blockchain technology. As well as being an industry first, this approach also makes aircraft registration easy for everyone. The simple online application can be completed within 24 hours, and provides customers with instant feedback on their progress,” it reads.
Video: A video highlighting the benefits of the new version of the Jersey Aircraft Registry. (Jersey Aircraft Registry)
Among the key highlights listed on the homepage are 0% insurance premium tax, that Jersey is part of the OECD 'whitelist' of countries for tax cooperation and a "competitive" scheme of charges.
Customers are also promised a "range of benefits", including "access to industry leading technology to preferred service recommendations and a dedicated key-account manager, our services are each tailored to match your company's needs."
Asked for an update on the registry in the States Assembly by Senator Steve Pallett yesterday, Senator Lyndon Farnham said he believed there to be two or three aircraft currently on it. The Government’s website says there are three.
Guernsey’s registry, meanwhile, currently has more than 500.
Senator Farnham said yesterday, however, that the Government remained committed to making the registry work and that long-term plans were under consideration.
“We have always said from the word go that this is not a short-term plan”, he said, adding that the Government would be “writing off” previous investment if the registry was to close.
The Government recently commissioned consultants Oxera to put together a report on the registry – however, it has declined to make this public, despite a plea from Scrutiny and a request under the Freedom of Information Law by Express, for “commercial” reasons.
Pictured: The previous Jersey Aircraft Registry website.
In a letter, Assistant Minister for Economic Development Deputy Kirsten Morel, who now has political responsibility for the project, told politicians who had asked for the document to be made public that he did not “consider the public release of this report to be in the best interests of the island.”
“…There is both background information in relation to the JAR, as well as a comparison of the relative success of other Aircraft Registries in similar jurisdictions," he said.
"I believe this information could place the Island at a competitive disadvantage, precisely at a time when work is being undertaken to make the JAR commercially sustainable and successful.”
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