I’m not a huge fan of Donald Trump. I’ll admit that. Trump is the classic case of a guy born on third base who thinks he hit a triple.
In the early 60s, my grandparents sold their little Cape in Laurelton, Queens and moved to Trump Village in Brooklyn. This huge and unwieldy cluster of co-op apartments, erected for the middle class a few blocks from the ocean in Brighton Beach, was built by The Donald’s dad, Fred.
I’ve got nothing against Fred. My grandparents were glad to have this apartment to call home.
On the other hand, I remember stories of Donald as a landlord, doing his best to make life difficult for older residents in luxury Manhattan buildings, renting at below market rates under New York City’s controversial rent control laws¹. He didn’t come off as a sweetheart to me. In fact, he came off with no heart to me.
Can I maintain a dislike for decades? I guess so.
The reason I bring this up tonight is because Helaine and I are sitting here watching the Olympics. A few moments ago a promo for The Apprentice came up, with video of Donald’s beautiful 727.
It struck me funny that it’s Trump’s plane, because the callsign is VP-BDJ. All US registered planes begin with “N”. The “VP” designation means it’s registered in a British Overseas Territory.
There are loads of photos of VP-BDJ – and it’s a beaut. The shining colors belie the age of this airplane, first delivered to American Airlines a few days before I turned 18–back in 1968!
My question: Why is this plane, Donald Trump’s plane, registered outside the United States? It seems to be based at LaGuardia Airport in New York. I hope it’s maintained there… crewed there… certified there… taxed there. I suspect it’s not.
I hate it when success is built on avoidance rather than accomplishment. That’s what I’m scared of here.
¹ – When I went to double check the facts about Trump, an entry of mine came up first in the Google search! Did I have it wrong? Was I sustaining my own cruel fable about Mr. Trump?
As it turns out, a deeper search found this revealing story, published in the New York Times on June 4, 1983.
9 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s Jet”
Hey– Check out his Sikorsky S-76– It’s registered in America, too. That Boeing 727 is pretty old, and the interior isn’t that great. A ordinary (ha! ordinary) Gulfstream is much nicer.
Also, “The Donald” is one cheap old man.
He has his plane registered in the Cayman Islands a “British Overseas Territory” one of 14 territories in the world.
Nice one Donald, and you wanted to become President? Ha!
Both of you guys seem like typical jealous bitches that haven’t achieved much in life. Most private planes are registered outside of the United States. They are however taxed where they are parked so this is not a tax dodge. The richest 1% of taxpayers pay 98% of all collected taxes. Thank God for guys like Trump.
Can you justify your claim? Trump’s plane is the only private plane I have seen that belongs to someone in the US but is not registered here. Most cruise ships are registered outside the US, but I’ve not heard of this for private planes. If I take a walk around my close by international airport, all of the corporate jets have N-numbers (or a C- prefix if they’re visiting from Canada)
There are no shortage of photos of it.
Here are some recent flights: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/VPBDJ
First off this airplane no longer belongs to Trump, he has traded up and his new aircraft is N registration, Secondly, the registration of the aircraft has nothing to do with tax avoidance, it has to do with regulatory requirements. All transport category aircraft have to be registered and flown under specific certificates called PART, for instance PART 121, these are all governed by various regulatory agencies such as the FAA, CAA, EASA, etc.. These large aircraft are expensive to operate and maintain, so depending on the flight habits of the owner/operator, they look for the easiest regulatory body. Furthermore, obtaining an operating certificate is difficult and expensive, so most operators are piggy backing on someone else’s already existing certificate.
That’s one of the most pretzel like disingenuous explanation I’ve ever heard. The plane lived at LGA. It made the majority of its trips domestically. It was removed from the US tax system and regulatory system by Trump — making the rest of us pay for his use.
It’s OK to like him. And you don’t need an excuse. But his registry in the Caymans is what it is, a tax dodge. I’m glad you can look past it.
BTW — that entry was from nine years ago.
Okay your running a blog, I would think you would want accurate information. Your assessment of this aircraft and the process of aircraft registration is wrong, I offered information that is correct, because I work in the aviation industry and I actually managed this aircraft, and your wrong, the airplane was not based in at LGA, it was based in Florida and when in New York it was based at Teterboro, furthermore, it is equipped with long range fuel tanks and winglets which gave it international range, and flew all over the world, and for your information this aircraft is now owned by another person and is based in Southeast Asia, but maintains the Bermuda registration, because again your wrong, it’s not the Cayman Islands. And again the foreign registration of the aircraft has nothing to do with tax avoidance, just as I have previously stated, it has to do with regulatory requirements and flying certificates.
There are three reasons why you would register your airplane in Bermuda (VP-B prefix):
1.) You like anonymity (10 years ago he had TRUMP in large gold letters across the airframe)
2.) You need to get an airworthiness certificate without dealing with red tape and the FAA. You can also fly all over the world with this registration.
3.) You’re avoiding taxes!
It’s probably a mixture of both but just wanted to point out that the majority of people offshoring A/C are avoiding taxes.
Hopefully I don’t have to respond in another 10 years.
There are many reasons to avoid US FAA registration if you can.
Security is one. FAA registration records are public knowledge as would be flight plans.
Taxes is another.
Certification regulations; Certain aircraft are not allowed to be registered in the US for various reasons like place of manufacture or number of crew, etc.
Noise compliance regulations; Some countries will not allow registration of older, noisy aircraft.
Liability laws; The US and Europe have very punitive liability laws.
The high cost of compliance with US and European laws steer owners away from registration in these countries, (as well as locating of corporate headquarters and plants, etc.). That’s one of the reasons many ships are not flagged in the USA. I would do the same thing.
FYI, this aircraft has been sold several times since Trump owned it and is now being cut up and bits are being sold as souvenirs like keychains for $75.