Secured Lending in Aircraft Objects – Framework Overview of the International Registry of Mobile Assets

Lenders or creditors taking security in assets relating to Aircraft Objects (described further below) need to understand the framework of the International Registry of Mobile Assets (the “Registry”). Below is a brief outline of this framework and the security a lender may expect to receive in Aircraft Objects.

International Registry of Mobile Assets

The Registry is an asset-based international registry system that allows individuals and organizations to register and search financial interest in Aircraft Objects by their serial number. The IR operates under the legal framework of the November 16, 2001 Cape Town Convention and Protocol (the “Convention”). The Convention was adopted by Canada and a number its provinces, including Saskatchewan, and came into effect on April 1, 2013.  It is important to note that not all countries have signed onto the Convention and information contained in the Registry may be incomplete or non-existent when dealing with Aircraft Objects in a non-signatory state.

The main objective of the Convention is to facilitate the efficient financing and leasing of Aircraft Objects by creating a single international registry system whereby parties (current owners, perspective buyers, lenders, etc.) may confidently rely on the security interests registered against such Aircraft Objects. The international interests created by the IR are recognized by signatory states with respect to priority matters and such registrations in the Registry will have priority over similar registrations made in provincial registries, such as the Saskatchewan Personal Property Registry, even if such provincial registrations pre-date the date of registration in the Registry.  The Convention further provides secured lenders with a range of basic default remedies and speedy interim relief options in an effort to facilitate orderly and efficient enforcement of security.

Given the specific remedies offered by the Convention, lenders should consider tailoring security agreements, and potentially other security documents, to account for these enforcement remedies along with other matters specific to Aircraft Objects. It can also be helpful to explicitly provide for the Convention’s remedies in other agreements as well, such as a lease of Aircraft Objects, when such agreements may form part of the security to be granted by a debtor.

Not all assets used in the aviation industries are captured by the Convention. Aircraft Objects must meet certain size or power minimums. The following Aircraft Objects are captured by the Convention:

    1. Airframe means airframes (other than those used in military, customs or police services) that, when appropriate aircraft engines are installed thereon, are type certified by the competent aviation authority to transport:
    1. at least eight (8) persons including crew; or
    2. goods in excess of 2750 kilograms, together with all installed, incorporated or attached accessories, parts and equipment (other than aircraft engines), and all data, manuals and records relating thereto,
    1. Helicopters means heavier-than-air machines (other than those used in military, customs or police services) supported in flight chiefly by the reactions of the air on one or more power-driven rotors on substantially vertical axes and which are type certified by the competent aviation authority to transport:
    1. at least five (5) persons including crew; or
    2. goods in excess of 450 kilograms, together with all installed, incorporated or attached accessories, parts and equipment (including rotors), and all data, manuals and records relating thereto,
    1. Aircraft Engines means aircraft engines (other than those used in military, customs or police services) powered by jet propulsion or turbine or piston technology and:
    1. in the case of jet propulsion aircraft engines, have at least 1750 lb of thrust or its equivalent, and
    2. in the case of turbine-powered or piston-powered aircraft engines, have at least 550 rated take-off shaft horsepower or its equivalent, together with all modules and other installed, incorporated or attached accessories, parts and equipment and all data, manuals and records relating thereto.

    Individuals or organizations that wish to perform registrations, including lenders taking security against Aircraft Objects, in the IR will need to become Transaction User Entities (“TUE”). The TUE will need to further appoint an administrator that will be authorized to perform registrations on behalf of the TUE. While all registrations on behalf of the TUE will need to be performed by the administrator, an administrator can provide one-off authorizations to allow another entity to perform registrations on behalf of the TUE. This may be convenient in a transaction involving an owner of the Aircraft Objects, perspective purchaser of such objects and lender that are all represented by a different administrator.

    Personal Property Security Registries

    As stated above, registration in the Registry will defeat or have priority over registrations in provincial personal property registries where the Convention applies. However, it is common for lenders to continue to register security interests against debtors, including serial numbered goods such as Aircraft Objects, in provincial registries. While it can be somewhat cumbersome for a seller or vendor to deal with multiple jurisdictions for the same Aircraft Object, it is important to search all provincial registries in which these Aircrafts Objects are operating in as provincial registrations will govern priority in the absence of an international registration in the Registry.

    IDERAs

    An IDERA (Irrevocable De-Registration and Export Request Authorization) is another Convention based security mechanism that can provide additional security to a lender.  An IDERA can be filed with Transport Canada which will prevent anyone but the authorized holder (typically a lender) from deregistering the Aircraft (Airframes and Helicopters) with Transport Canada.  It provides lenders with the assurance that Transport Canada will cooperate with the holder if it requests the deregistration of the Aircraft.  In order the revoke the IDERA, the holder must provide written notice to Transport Canada of such revocation. To note, multiple IDERAs cannot be filed with Transport Canada on the same Aircraft.

    Conclusion

    The above is a very brief explanation on the framework of International Registry of Mobile Assets and the security a lender may expect to receive when taking a security interest in Aircraft Objects. Our legal team at Robertson Stromberg LLP would be happy to discuss these matters in further detail or any questions you may have with respect to secured lending involving Aircraft Objects.

    Marinko Jelovich is a partner with Robertson Stromberg. His areas of practice include Indigenous Law; Commercial Transactions and Real Estate; Natural Resources; Residential Real Estate; Small Business; and Wills, Estates, Trusts, Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney. Contact Marinko Jelovic at 1-306-933-1322 or m.jelovic@rslaw.com. The above is for general information only. Parties should always seek legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations. 

    Commercial Leases and the Impact of COVID-19

    The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect the day-to-day lives of millions of Canadians. As a result, businesses continue to face issues regarding cash flow, which in turn forces those businesses into difficult decisions as to which obligations they will pay, and which obligations will need to be deferred.

    One of the consequences of these difficult decisions is that commercial landlords are now faced with tenants who either cannot pay their rent, do not wish to pay rent or have abandoned or are contemplating the abandonment of leased property. While COVID-19 gives rise to new business considerations, as will be seen below, the rights of the commercial landlord remain relatively unchanged.

    This article, originally posted to our website in May, 2020, was amended on June 15, 2020 to reflect the emergency order issued by the Government of Saskatchewan in relation to the eviction of commercial tenants. This moratorium was issued pursuant to the provisions of The Emergency Planning Act.

    It should be noted that the moratorium issued only applies to landlord who were eligible, but declined to apply, for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (“CECRA”). This moratorium was issued in large part to assist new businesses in reopening during COVID-19.

    Your Tenant Cannot (or Will Not) Pay Rent

     

    As was the case before COVID-19, where a tenant fails to pay rent in a timely fashion the landlord, who has applied under the CECRA, is able to demand the rent and as permitted under the lease, takes steps to distrain or evict the tenant and take possession of the property. The Saskatchewan Legislature has, at this time, not taken any steps to alter the rights and remedies of the commercial landlord.

    Before concluding that the tenant is offside their obligations by way of non-payment of rent, consideration should be given to whether the lease has a force majeure clause and if so, what effect that clause may have on the tenant’s position. For more information on this subject, Marinko Jelovic has prepared an article, Force Majeure and the Doctrine of Frustration – COVID-19, which addresses this issue with more specificity. https://www.rslaw.com/2020/03/18/force-majeure-doctrine-of-frustration-covid-19/

    Before deciding on a course of action, a landlord may wish to give consideration to their existing relationship with the tenant and the current economic climate. A tenant who has occupied the same property for an extended period of time or is in the midst of a long-term lease, and who has not voluntarily defaulted on payment may still be better than the alternative. When the time arises for the preventative restrictions imposed by the Government of Saskatchewan to be lifted, prospective new tenants may be a rare commodity. If you consider the business foundation for a long-term tenant to be sound you may prefer having your existing tenant when business resumes, rather looking for a new occupant. Short term pain may be balanced by long term gain.

    On the other hand, if the tenant is in default and the history of the landlord-tenant relationship is not happy one, this may be an opportunity to end the relationship, with a view to attracting a more desirable tenant.

    Much will turn on the landlord’s view of the value of its relationship with the tenant.

    To the contrary, where a landlord has failed or otherwise declined to take part on the CECRA program, the landlord is now prevented from re-entering the property, terminating the lease or exercising the right of distraint. The Government of Saskatchewan has, at this time, limited the remedies available to a commercial landlord who has elected not to participate in CECRA.

    Your Tenant Abandons Their Lease

     

    In Saskatchewan the legislature has declined to, at this time, amend or enact new legislation that would affect a commercial landlord’s rights. As such, the provisions of The Landlord and Tenant Act continue to apply, as do the provisions of the lease itself.

    Under The Landlord and Tenant Act, if the tenant abandons their lease leaving rent unpaid a landlord may exercise its right of distress. In doing so, the landlord is permitted to retain and sell personal property left on the premises by the tenant. However, given the current economic climate a landlord may wish to consider whether or not exercising their right of distress makes financial sense.

    While The Landlord and Tenant Act permits the landlord to recover the costs of the seizure and sale of abandoned or seized property, the practical reality is that the property may not be worth the cost and effort of sale. Much will turn on the nature of the tenant’s business and the type of property present in the leased space. As businesses continue to attempt to cut down and reduce overhead costs, depending on the nature of the tenant’s business there may be a reduced, or non-existent, resale market for the goods due to COVID-19. Attempting to seize and sell the property may result in substantial costs being incurred, with little net recovery, if any, toward the unpaid rent.

    However, if the decision is to move to terminate, or to accept abandonment, the landlord can proceed in the usual way. The landlord’s rights are largely governed by the lease. Most provide that the landlord may bring action to recover unpaid rent, as well as rent for the remainder of the term of the lease, should a tenant abandon its lease (subject of course to the duty to mitigate and find a new tenant as soon as reasonably possible, though depending on the short and mid-term commercial leasing market it may be of little moment). For more information on the subject, please see the following article on enforcing the landlord’s rights: https://www.rslaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/1226000394Enforcement-of-Commercial-Leases-A-Practical-Guide.pdf

    It should be noted that nothing in the in the June 5 moratorium impacts the landlords rights in the event the tenant has abandon their lease. Similarly, the landlords right remain unaffected if the lease expired on or before June 4, 2020.

    Where the lease expires after June 4, 2020, and the landlord has elected not to sign up for or participated in the CECRA

    Conclusion

     

    As the consequences of COVID-19 continue to be felt in the business community, and with no timeline as to when the government imposed restrictions will be softened or lifted, landlords will continue to face business decisions on how to deal with tenants who do not pay their rent. Consideration must be given to the risk of evicting a tenant and attempting to recover unpaid rent versus the cost and time spent attracting a new tenant. Landlords will know that when the Government of Saskatchewan lifts social distancing restrictions, it may still be several months before new tenants can be found, as the economy slowly recovers from the economic downturn. As such, maintaining strong business relationships during this pandemic may best serve to provide a practical benefit down the road. Where the relationship is not so strong, different considerations may apply, and ending the landlord-tenant relationship may be the best outcome.

    For more information, please contact:

     

    M Kim Anderson, Q.C.

    306.933.1344

    Email: mk.anderson@rslaw.com

     

    Travis K. Kusch

    306.933.1373

    Email: t.kusch@rslaw.com

    Marinko Jelovic Joins Robertson Stromberg Partnership

    Congratulations to Marinko Jelovic who became Robertson Stromberg’s newest partner on January 1, 2019.  Marinko joined Robertson Stromberg as an articling student and, since his call to the bar in  2012, has been an important member of the corporate/commercial law team.

    Robertson Stromberg Ranked by Chambers and Partners

    Robertson Stromberg has been ranked as a leading firm by Chambers and Partners. The 2019 Chambers Canada lists Robertson Stromberg in the Corporate/Commercial – Saskatchewan category.  Also awarded Leading Lawyer rankings are Christopher Donald, Q.C. and Leslie Prosser, Q.C.

    Chambers Canada covers lawyers and law firms practicing in all provinces and territories in Canada. The guide recommends lawyers and law firms in over 40 specialist practice areas. The qualities on which rankings are assessed include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by the client.  

    The profile describes Robertson Stromberg as a “well-established Saskatoon-based team with standout experience advising on commercial lending, acquisitions and divestitures as well as corporate finance. Regularly advises clients in the financial services, municipal and agricultural sectors. Further areas of strength include bankruptcy and insolvency, insurance and taxation law.”

    Read Chambers and Partners’ profiles of Les Prosser and Chris Donald.

     

    Area of ExpertiseCommercial Transactions and Real Estate