This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
An NBAA webinar yesterday explored how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the submitting of documents on aircraft transactions to the FAA Civil Aviation Registry. Since the emergence of the virus in the U.S., the FAA has shut down physical access to the direct filing window within the public documents (PD) room at the regulator’s offices in Oklahoma City, limiting the ways to get registry documents filed with the agency to traditional mail or electronically, according to the webinar’s two panelists—Scott McCreary of McAffee & Taft law firm in Oklahoma City and Chris Younger of GKG Law in Washington, D.C. All documents that are mailed are also subject to a 72-hour quarantine, further delaying their processing and filing, they explained.
Even those documents filed through electronic means are seeing slight delays in processing, the panelists said. Before the closing of the PD filing room, those involved in closing an aircraft transaction would immediately have confirmation of a filing time because they were physically on-site to do that with the FAA. And that confirmation “would be the trigger for the release of funds and documents,” McCreary said. “So now we’re having to wait a bit of time after documents are submitted before we have the confirming filing times.”
McCreary emphasized that deals are still closing—it’s just that the process is taking longer. “Most deals can close if parties are aware of the issues in advance and just take time to think through the solutions,” he added.