16 March, 2022
Article 83bis Agreement Bermuda-Russian Federation
On 15th March, 2022, the Russian Federation Government apparently signed a decree to instruct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to suspend the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Article 83bis Agreement between Bermuda and the Russian Federation. Formal notification has yet to be received by the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA).
On 12th March, 2022, the BCAA provisionally suspended all Certificates of Airworthiness of those aircraft operating under the ICAO Article 83bis Agreement, legally grounding them, so there is no meaningful impact from suspending the Article 83bis Agreement.
Bermuda entered into an ICAO Article 83bis Agreement with the Russian Federation, through an entrustment from the United Kingdom, which permits the transfer of certain Regulatory Oversight Functions and Duties to the Russian Federation. There were over 700+ Bermuda registered aircraft operated by 30 Russian air operators on the Article 83bis Agreement.
In the Article 83bis Agreement, Bermuda transferred the functions and duties including oversight and control of relevant items contained in the ICAO Convention on Civil Aviation (the Convention) Annex 1 - Personnel Licensing and Annex 2 - Rules of the Air. The BCAA retained the responsibilities under the Convention for the regulatory oversight and control of Annex 8 - Airworthiness of Aircraft. Should the Article 83bis Agreement be suspended, then all functions and duties of oversight would revert to Bermuda as State of Registry.
The most significant impact from the suspension of the Article 83bis Agreement is that a Russian pilot license is no longer valid to fly a Bermuda registered aircraft. Applicable Rules of the Air would now be in accordance with the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order, but as Rules of the Air are generally aligned between States, the impact is not significant.
Bermuda has never transferred airworthiness responsibilities to the Russian Federation. As airworthiness regulations and requirements are the responsibility of the State of Registry (Bermuda), these remain with the BCAA.
Concerning aircraft registration, there are no impacts as Bermuda is the State of Registry for all aircraft on the Registry, regardless of whether they are operated as commercial, private and/or on an Article 83bis Agreement. When it comes to removing an aircraft from the Registry, the BCAA will only deregister aircraft on request from the owner and in accordance with relevant BCAA legislation and procedures.