Aeronautical Perspectives

Aviation law is relegated to one of the most complex legislation systems. It controls the commercial aspects of air travelling, safe operation of planes and airports, and certification of new aircrafts. It is a highly specialized branch of law that embraces all sides of air travel. It requires thorough knowledge of aviation and a particular set of laws concerning flights. In addition, this area of jurisdiction has to deal with cases when people have suffered from aircraft crashes (Aviation Law). The complexity is induced by the competition that exists between aviation corporations due to their ubiquity around the world. Furthermore, globalization of the industry adds to its multi-levelness, as many countries are involved in it (International and National Aviation Law).

Aviation law is divided into international and national branches. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was set up in 1947 by the United Nations. Their role is to regulate international civil aviation by virtue of monitoring corporations, developing standards for air transport, setting border-crossing policies, and supporting maintainable expansion of the industry. Governing bodies consist of Assembly and Council. Assembly is summoned by the Council once in three years at a convenient time and place. It has the power to choose the Member States to be represented in the Council; however, it is obliged to take action on any matter at the behest of the Council. Virtually, it surveys the operations from economical, administrative, and legal standpoints. The Council is an immutable body of the ICAO that is accountable for the Assembly. It consists of 36 Member States that are selected by the Assembly. The purpose of the Council is to produce annual reports and play an executive and financial role for the Assembly. Furthermore, it has the power to appoint duties for different Committees and Navigation Services. On the whole, the Council

determines the direction of the work of ICAO. The lower levels of governing comprise of the Secretary General of ICAO, Bureaus and Regional Offices.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a trade group of airlines created to address business issues, for instance, to mitigate the competition between companies by virtue of setting the equality in pricing (International and National Aviation Law). The IATA sections the world into three zones. The first zone is North, Central and South America; the second is Africa, Europe and Middle East; the third zone comprises of Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

National Law is regulated by the State. There are two agencies that impose federal legislation: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA). These two organizations are responsible for air traffic control, flights operation, certification of new airports and aircrafts, ensuring the safety, and maintenance of the planes.

The first federal law related to air navigation was enacted by Congress back in 1926 as the Air Commerce Act. Later in 1938 Civil Aeronautics Authority was created, consisting of five members. Their responsibility was to control all facets of aviation within the State. Presently, all the power from CAA is transferred to the Department of Commerce (Legal Information Institute). In 2001, Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in response to the terrorist attacks. This legislation promoted the creation of a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Transportation (Legal Information Institute). TSA's objective is to provide security for customers by virtue of screening all commercial airline passengers and their baggage. In addition, it has the power to enforce laws regarding air transportation in order to enhance the excellence of the service.

In terms of jurisdiction, FAA is responsible for the introduction of policies and regulations regarding the following:

  • aircrafts;
  • airports;
  • air traffic;
  • pilots, flights and ground instructors;
  • commercial space transportation;
  • medical certification;
  • aviation data and statistics.

Certification of commercial and general aircrafts is instituted in order to meet the highest possible safety standards. Regardless of model or design, all aircrafts are eligible for United States Registration. In order to register an aircraft, AC Form 8050-1 is filled out by the citizen or business corporation. In addition, an Airworthiness Certificate has to be obtained that permits to operate a plane. There are standard and special certificates available that are issued by aviation safety inspectors appointed by the FAA. Continued operational safety is an element of regulatory provision. Quality System Audit (QSA) is conducted on delegated facilities and approval holders to determine that procedures are carried out in conformity with the requirements (Aircraft Certification).

International aircraft certification requires bilateral agreement (Aircraft Certification). It provides mutual airworthiness of aeronautical items imported or exported between two countries.

FAA controls airport systems in order to ensure safe service to customers, environmentally friendly operations, and efficiency. Construction standards are defined in the Series 150 Advisory Circulars (ACs) for Airport Projects. Airport Improvement Program (AIP) is aimed at giving subventions to various public agencies to develop and construct public airports.

The Airport Safety Program is devised to maintain the safety of airports and runways. It is certified under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139 and safety management systems (SMS).

The Airport Environmental Program is developed to follow out the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal laws concerning environment. It encompasses a regulation of airport noise levels and the implementation of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970. In addition, airports should submit to certain rules when acquiring land for development projects, and assist private property owners to relocate.

FAA approves programs aimed at financing the elaboration of security and safety features of airports and their comfort level. Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) Program encompasses the charge of up to 4.50$ for every passenger in order to cover those expenses.

Air traffic control system is the most important facet of FAA operation. It has to stay safe and continuously operational. Air traffic plans and publications are available as aeronautical information manuals.

Control of flights, pilots and ground instructors is supported by legislation defined in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR). It is an unofficial collection of rules and amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration's Office. This vast compilation encompasses the following: general statutes, flight rules, equipment, instruments and Certificate Requirements, maintenance, preventive maintenance and alterations, fractional ownership operations, operating noise limits, foreign aircraft operations, waivers, safety improvements.

Commercial space transportation is developed by various agencies and private companies. In order to protect the safety of people and the environment, these companies have to adhere to certain rules that are constituted by the FAA. In fact, all commercial space industry is regulated by the FAA. It is responsible for the issue of the licenses and permits commercial space transportation, launch sites designation, safety approvals, and compliance monitoring.

Medical certification program is devised to monitor pilots’ health in order to preserve the safety of the public. Pilots are required to obtain medical certificates from the FAA according to Federal Aviation Regulation Part 67. In addition, drug and alcohol programs are available. Under section 14 CFR Part 61 of Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, all airmen must report alcohol-related convictions or administrative actions to the FAA. Rules for the aviation medical examiners are defined in the Part 67, Subpart E (certification procedures) of the e-CFR.

Aviation data and statistics are an integral part of aeronautic industry. It encompasses collection and storage of information regarding airlines and airports operation. The National Geodetic Survey (NGS), in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), provides airport geodetic management, runways obstruction, navigational aid, and other information that is crucial to the operation of the National Airspace System.

FAA Academy provides training and testing for participants of different categories. The majority of courses are conducted for government agencies and international civil aviation authorities (FAA Academy).

Aviation industry is monitored and controlled by the United Nations Agency ICAO on the international level. At the behest of the agency, Safety and Infrastructure Policy and Standardization strategy is developed (Policy and Standardization). Air Navigation Bureau is a department of ICAO that manages this strategy. Global Aviation Safety Plan and the Global Air Navigation Plan are managed by the agency. They include the following programs: accident investigation, aerodromes, air traffic management, aviation goods, dangerous goods, integrated infrastructure management, flight operations, meteorology, runway safety, fatigue management, tracking system implementation, USOAP (2012 Safety Report, p.17)

Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) is devised for conducting regular audits in ICAO member States regarding aviation safety systems. According to the Resolution A37-5 passed over by the Assembly 37th Session in 2010, the information on safety performance of different countries is made public (USOAP).

The international measures for keeping the aviation reliable are administered on behalf of The International Air Transport Association (IATA). Guidance programs have been developed for lowering pilots fatigue during flights. Workshops on fatigue risk management are carried out all over the world (2012 Safety Report).

The new techniques are constantly being developed in the international and national framework of legislation. The globalized structure of aeronautic business demands collection of huge amounts of safety information, continuous involvement of monitoring systems and inspection strategies. In order to facilitate the operation of the aviation industry, a broad spectrum of different professions need to be involved. Therefore, a vast legislation is developed to ensure the safe and lawful operations of aeronautics. 

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