Maritime and Aviation City welcomes first zone company

CHC Helicopter, a company that operates a search and rescue network, and transports offshore oil and gas workers, is the first company in the maritime and aviation part of Cayman’s special economic zone. - Photo: CHC Helicopter

Cayman Maritime & Aviation City and The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands announced the registration of its first special economic zone company in May.

Cayman Enterprise City, of which Aviation City is a part, hopes the arrival of CHC Helicopter, a global offshore transport company, will mark the beginning of a transportation services cluster in the Cayman Islands.

CHC Helicopter runs one of the most extensive search-and-rescue networks in the world, and transports offshore oil and gas workers in the North Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, both sides of the Indian Ocean and the Timor Sea.

Signing a company that has been in the transportation business for 70 years is an auspicious start to a transportation services hub, Cayman Enterprise City said.

“We are very excited to welcome CHC Helicopter to Cayman Maritime & Aviation City,” said Cayman Enterprise City CEO Charlie Kirkconnell.

“CHC is an industry leader with decades of experience and an excellent reputation in the offshore transport industry. They are a perfect example of the type of business that the special economic zone was set up to attract and we hope that their decision to set up in Cayman will motivate other aviation industry players to consider Cayman Maritime & Aviation City as well.”

The Cayman Islands has a reputable aircraft registry for private, corporate and commercial operations, and the new arrangement with CEC provides additional opportunities for commercial air transport operations to be conducted offshore with operators establishing their principle place of business in the Cayman Islands.

Cayman has had only limited success in attracting the segment of the aviation market that caters to commercial aircraft operations, including those that require an air operator’s certificate. For the Civil Aviation Authority to grant an air operator’s certificate to an aircraft on the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry, the operator must have its principal place of business in the territory. The aviation park will help the CAA in fulfilling this need and expanding its offering.

The Aviation Authority’s Director-General Richard Smith said the new addition to Aviation City and the CAACI is a very positive development for the Cayman Islands.

“It has shown that multi-faceted international aviation industries can be established here. Operators of Cayman Islands registered aircraft now being able to establish their principle place of business within the jurisdiction to obtain an Air Operator’s Certificate for offshore commercial air transport is a wonderful addition to our benefits,” he said.

CAACI and CEC are jointly marketing the Cayman Islands to the aviation industry by highlighting Cayman’s robust regulatory environment, neutral tax status, sound legal and finance systems and first-world lifestyle.

Clients that qualify to be part of the special economic zone are aircraft owners and brokers, technology companies and start-ups engaged in aviation research and development, the head offices of aviation industry businesses, aircraft manufacturing and repair businesses, and businesses that provide management consultancy and other specialized services to the aviation industry.

Cayman Maritime & Aviation City also recently became a member of the National Business Aviation Association. It will allow Aviation City to be part of an organization with more than 11,000 industry members that also hosts the world’s largest civil aviation trade show – the NBAA Aviation Convention and Exhibition.

CEC and CAACI created the aviation services park in the special economic zone one year ago by combining it with the Maritime Services Park, so that aviation services providers can be licensed in the zone. CEC’s Maritime Services Park was established in 2015 when the government paved the way for a physical presence of maritime services companies in the special economic zone.

The goal is to attract ship owners, brokers and financiers, freight trading, operations, logistics, vessel management, consulting and research companies operating in the shipping industry.

In 2014, Premier Alden McLaughlin called Cayman an ideal hub for the shipping and maritime industry, but take-up of the new offer was slow, not least because of the difficult economic situation in the shipping industry in recent years.