CASA opens reservations for new alphanumeric aircraft registration marks

A new Australian aircraft alphanumeric registration mark.
Photo Credit: CASA

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has now advised that aircraft owners will be able to reserve aircraft registration marks using the new alphanumeric system.

As of this month, Australian aircraft owners and operators can now reserve alphanumeric aircraft registration marks starting with ‘A’, for example VH-A65, VH-A5E, VH-AX9.

New Australian registration system


Aircraft registration marks in Australia will continue to use the VH Australian Nationality mark followed by 3 characters. Marks will not contain the numbers ‘0’ or ‘1’ to avoid conflict with these numbers and letters. They also must contain a mix of alphanumeric characters – they cannot contain only numbers.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia has now introduced a new alphanumeric aircraft registration option. The new system will use the VH- Australian nationality mark, followed by three alphanumeric characters.

The characters can be any letter of the alphabet, except for “O” and “I”, which could be confused with the digits “0” and “1”. The first batch of 1500 new marks was released on September 23, 2022, and will only start with an X or 8.

Reason for introduction


The new alphanumeric system was introduced to address the shortage of available VH-XXX registration marks. The VH-XXX system has been in use since 1929, and the pool of available marks is now nearing depletion.

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The new alphanumeric system will provide an additional 20,000 potential registration marks, which should be enough to last for several decades.

CASA has also implemented a number of other changes to the system. For example, aircraft owners will now be able to reserve registration marks in advance.

As of the advice from CASA on August 3 2023, the reservation process is now open, and a list of available registration marks and information on how to reserve an alphanumeric aircraft registration mark has been made public.

This will allow owners to choose the registration mark they want, rather than having to accept whatever is available. At the same time, the Australian aviation regulator has also made it easier for aircraft owners to change their registration marks.

The new aircraft registration system is a significant change for Australia. It will provide aircraft owners with more choices and flexibility, and it will ensure that there are enough registration marks available for the foreseeable future.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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