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Process of purchasing an aircraft located in another EU country

I am in the process of negotiating the purchase of a Socata TB-10 located in Romania (I am in NL), and I am trying to understand the right steps and sequencing. This is my first purchase, and while I’ve done lots of research I am unsure whether I have everything right in my head. My presumed path is as follows:

  1. Arrange a pre-purchase inspection. This step is the most daunting, as I don’t know anyone near the current location.
  2. Complete a sales contract or bill of sale
  3. Transfer money to seller
  4. Use bill of sale to transfer ownership in Romania
  5. Activate insurance policy
  6. Fly aircraft home
  7. Declare with customs agent
  8. Transfer current CAMO to new shop?
  9. Either leave on Romanian registry or transfer to PH. Any thoughts here also appreciated!

Do I have the steps right, or am I missing something (or do I have the order wrong)? Really appreciate any help!

Last Edited by dutch_flyer at 29 Jan 15:51
EHRD, Netherlands

I think there is no need for item 7 “Declare with customs agent”. It is an intra EU transaction, the same as me in Ireland buying an aeroplane in France.

I have good contact in Romania, he bought an aeroplane off me in 2011, it was the second one I ever sold and I delivered it to his maintenance organisation in LRBS in Bucharest. He was the go-to guy in Romania. I could probably hook you up with him.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EIBR, Ireland

Thanks a lot for your reply. It would be super helpful to get your Romanian contact.

Is it possible that the customs declaration is required in NL but not elsewhere? I called ILenT (the Dutch authority that handles aircraft registration), and they specifically said I needed to do this. Either way it’s only 150 euros or so, so I won’t lose sleep over it. The bigger question for me now is whether I actually need step 4? Can I just take the bill of sale or contract and register it in NL, or must I first transfer ownership and get a Romanian title, then use that to get a Dutch title? Obviously I have no idea how intra-EU aircraft titles work!

Last Edited by dutch_flyer at 29 Jan 17:19
EHRD, Netherlands

To register a plane in France, I am pretty sure you must bring a registration license with your name on it. So you have to change the ownership of the plane before importing it.
I would add :
step 0 : study all documents available on the plane before making the physical inspection
And after the inspection, update your budget for the upgrades you will want and the reserve needed if you later find worms in the can.

LFPT, LFEH

dutch_flyer wrote:

Is it possible that the customs declaration is required in NL but not elsewhere? I called ILenT (the Dutch authority that handles aircraft registration), and they specifically said I needed to do this. Either way it’s only 150 euros or so, so I won’t lose sleep over it.

I am not sure what purpose it would serve to involve said customs agent, there is no duty applicable. For the purposes of VAT your transaction will likely fall into one of three categories:

- Seller is a private non VAT registered person and there would be no VAT on the sale of used goods between two private persons
- Seller is a VAT registered entity who will you have to charge a private buyer VAT and give you a VAT inclusive invoice
- Seller is a dealer who is VAT registered using a margin scheme where he will give a private buyer an inclusive invoice with a VAT margin element included

For the purposes of the registration of your aircraft, I couldn’t see why the paperwork for the sale would not be sufficient for your Dutch authority but if you need to comply with some local rules, then that’s really up to you to figure out.

It can be preferable to take the aircraft into your name on the foreign register and then you cancel it as exported to your home country in your own time. The reason being is you are the last owner in the eyes of the authority on the register where you want to place it. I’ve seen it done both ways but if I was buying it, and I buy stuff all the time, this is the way I would be doing it. We had a guy cancel a Navajo off the G-reg (we told him not) to and it took him a month to convince his authority that he was the new owner and entitled to register it.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EIBR, Ireland

Jujupilote wrote:

step 0 : study all documents available on the plane before making the physical inspection
And after the inspection, update your budget for the upgrades you will want and the reserve needed if you later find worms in the can.

Believe me I’ve got quite the spreadsheet and plenty of quotes already for this stuff, but thanks for the tip!

WilliamF wrote:

It can be preferable to take the aircraft into your name on the foreign register and then you cancel it as exported to your home country in your own time. The reason being is you are the last owner in the eyes of the authority on the register where you want to place it.

This is what I was thinking as well, so thanks for confirming. I presume I can go to pick up the airplane, mail off for the new registration, and still legally fly it back, right?

Last Edited by dutch_flyer at 29 Jan 18:46
EHRD, Netherlands

WilliamF wrote:

I am not sure what purpose it would serve to involve said customs agent, there is no duty applicable.

In my experience, which was moving an aircraft out off the Dutch register into the Luxembourg register:

  • If you have proof that the customs declaration was done in the previous EU country, just present that proof to the new country customs, and they will issue the right paperwork free of charge.
  • If not, you must do an import, and you must use a customs agent for that, you cannot do it yourself. There is no customs duty to pay, but the customs agent takes a fee for his work.

A few notes:

  • In my case, the transaction was under the reverse charge VAT system, so the question of VAT didn’t come up. I’m not 100% sure what would have happened in the second case in the absence of “VAT paid” proof.
  • “Proof that the customs declaration was done” must be the actual customs paperwork. A certification of the outgoing register that “at the time of registration, the law required us to see the customs paperwork before registering the plane, so we have it, but it is in the central paper archive in another building, so I cannot easily send you a scan” does not do.
  • On the question of what to put as “origin country” on the import declaration, I asked the customs if I should put the country of the outgoing register or the country of the seller (another EU member state); the customs civil servant told me no, it is not possible to do an import from an EU country (presumably because we are in a customs union). When I turned the question back to them, i.e. that was exactly my point, I’m doing an intra-EU transaction, why the hell should I do an import declaration, (s)he was not amused. My feeling was that they were forcing me to write a falsehood on an import declaration, which is an offence. In the end, as always in customs matters, the customs agent did what (s)he wants to do “in your name” without following your instructions in the slightest, and leaves you shafted with the consequences of that. <shrug>
ELLX

QuoteThe bigger question for me now is whether I actually need step 4?

In my experience this step isn’t necessary and may actually not even be possible with some registries… Eg. Bulgaria or Slovakia register aircraft owned by thier citizens or locally registered entities only.
I would expect that your CAA would be able to provide instructions/checklist of documents for the process. In my experience (Czech CAA) it was as follows:
1. Application for the preliminary registration and aircraft address
2. Application for registration into aircraft register, where you need to provide a proof of ownerhisp (purchase agreement) and a proof that the aircraft was deregistered in Romania
3. Issuance of CofA (likely shorter process if the airplane has a valid ARC)

The Czech CAA has been very helpful so although it looked overwhelming initially it is actually reasonably manageable.

LKBE

If I first deregister the aircraft before registering in NL, am I legally able to fly it home? Won’t it be in limbo from a reg perspective? I would note that the reg documents for the Romanian CAA have an indication for nationality, which would seem to indicate that having Romanian citizenship isn’t a requirement.

Last Edited by dutch_flyer at 30 Jan 16:31
EHRD, Netherlands

When I bought my Piper from Denmark, the only thing we did locally was to sign the sales agreement, transfer money and fly home. Same with buying TMG from austria. deregistering (or transfer of ownership for Piper, its still in OY register) in CAA was done by e-mails and regular mail. I also used the previous insurance until i got a new one. (so using your numbering, no 6 came directly after 3). I also choose to keep the previous CAMO, which has worked out reasonably well for 3 years already.

EETU, Estonia
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