Where Are The World’s Aircraft Registered?

Every aircraft flying for an airline is registered with some aviation authority, be it the FAA, CAA, or somebody entirely different. However, a plane is not always registered in the country where it is operating. For example, Ryanair’s Boeing 737s are registered in countries ranging from Ireland to the UK and Malta. Simple Flying decided to find out just where the world’s aircraft are registered.

Aircraft, Registration, Ownership
Where are the world’s aircraft registered? Photo: Getty Images

Launched yesterday, Ryanair’s new ‘Inside Ryanair’ podcast saw CEO Eddie Wilson interviewed on various topics. At one point, Wilson commented that,

“Half the aircraft on this planet are actually registered in Ireland. [Ireland is] seen as a beacon for leased aircraft.”

With this in mind, we wanted to find out exactly where the world’s aircraft are registered.

32% registered in the United States

Travel and aviation analytics expert Cirium carried out an analysis of the global fleet for Simple Flying, looking at where aircraft are registered and owned, broken down by aircraft type. In the analysis, Cirium looked at 5715 regional turboprops, 4513 regional jets, 18126 narrowbody jets, and 6457 widebody jets. This gives a total of 34811 aircraft.

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Of these aircraft, 31.85% were owned in the United States, making up 11087 aircraft in total. However, only 9371 of these aircraft were actually registered in the United States.

Aircraft, Registration, Ownership
More aircraft are registered in the United States than any other country. Graph: Simple Flying – Data: Cirium

Ireland has the second-highest proportion of owned aircraft at 5186 or 14.9%. However, this doesn’t correlate with the number of aircraft registered in the country. Just 669 are actually registered in Ireland, representing 1.9% of the global fleet.

This means that China (4081), Canada (1333), The United Kingdom (959), India (922), Bermuda (784), Germany (709), Japan (701), Australia (688), and Indonesia (680) all have more aircraft registered than Ireland.

Aircraft, Registration, Ownership
Ireland has the second-highest number of owned aircraft in the world. Graph: Simple Flying – Data: Cirium

Some interesting statistics

While the big numbers will always grab people’s attention, there are some other impressive figures. Take San Mario, the landlocked state in the east of Italy. According to Cirium’s analysis, there is only one aircraft listed as owned in San Marino. This appears to be a 26.5-year-old Airbus A300 registered as T7-ASK. The aircraft belongs to San Marino Executive Aviation. However, it has never landed in San Marino, given that none of the state’s 61.2 square kilometers house an airport.

Aircraft, Registration, Ownership
Some countries have aircraft registered and owned despite having no airport. Photo: Getty Images

Like San Marino, Liechtenstein has no airport. However, it has three aircraft owned, two regional turboprops, and one narrowbody aircraft. Despite this, no aircraft is registered in Liechtenstein.

Only seven countries have just one aircraft registered of the types mentioned above. These are:

  • Belize – one regional turboprop
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina – one narrowbody jet
  • British Virgin Islands – one regional turboprop
  • Central African Republic – one narrowbody jet
  • French Polynesia – one regional turboprop
  • Sao Tome and Principe – one regional turboprop
  • Somalia – one regional turboprop

Did the stats about the number of aircraft owned and registered in each country surprise you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!