What are the most important rulings on the convention on international civil aviation?

View from the airplane_aviation

Image courtesy of Nathaniel C. at Flickr.com

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944), also known as the Chicago Convention, was created to update the rules on aviation. It is the most important normative treaty related to international aeronautical public laws.

In 1944, with the end of World War II in the corner, United States promoted a Conference in order to update international agreements on civil aviation, stagnant since 1919 Paris Convention. The Conference was held in Chicago from November the 1st until December 7th of 1944, with the attendance of delegates from 52 States. At that time the civil aviation committee was awaiting the end of the war for its re launch, there had been great technological advances in aeronautics, US economic potential was in full swing, while the major European powers, the USSR and Japan were completely in debt, with a virtually destroyed civil aeronautics industry. This brought a showdown in between the U.S. which had a very strong economic position that was seeking a policy of free international air transport trade compared to the rest of the countries that wanted to adopt a protectionist policy to rebuild their economies and their aviation industries.

Finally, the agreement regulated in a liberal way the aspects of navigation and air traffic, together with the non-remunerated air traffic. The costly air transport was at the mercy of bilateral agreements between the United States, which would be reported within the ICAO.

It was agreed to establish a permanent body that would continue the task started in 1919, initially called the Provisional organization of International Civil Aviation, until it was renamed The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1947, this agreement was endorsed by the Member States.

Airplane at Centenial Airport_aviation
Image courtesy of Heath Alseike at Flickr.com

Here are the most important parts of the convention, The Air Navigation.

Article 1: All States have full and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory

Article 5: All civil aircraft can fly over the airspace of another State (1st freedom) and perform non-commercial technical scales on it (2nd freedom) without obtaining prior permission from that country. These freedoms are to be subject to the conditions of air navigation imposed by that State (for example military exclusion zones) and also the country may require the airplane to land and allow inspection inside the aircraft for security reasons.

Article 6: No scheduled air service may be operated over a territory without a permission or special agreement with such State.

Article 10: The State may require that foreign aircraft land on Customs’ Airports and allow the state to inspect them.

Article 12: Every State can keep its own rules of the air always and require them to aircrafts that are flying its airspace provided that they are consistent with the given statements in this agreement

Article 13: The laws of each State with regard to entry and exit of passengers or goods (customs, passports…) must be complied with during the arrival, the departure and the stay in that country.

Article 16: The authorities of every State have the right to inspect the aircrafts and examine the certificates and documents of the same

Article 24: Spare parts, oil, fuel, etc. from an aircraft entering one of the Member States of the Convention will be free of taxes provided that these are not discharged in that State.

Article 29: Aircraft intending to make an international flight must carry the following documents on board:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Certificate of airworthiness
  • Licenses suitable for every Member of the crew
  • Log-book.
  • Aircraft radio license.
  • List of passengers with their names and places of embarkation and disembarkation
  • Detail on the load being carried.


Image courtesy of Jonathan Cohen at Flickr.com

Article 30: The Aircraft that is flying over another State can only have a radio that has been previously approved by the ruling of the country in which the aircraft is registered. Radio operators shall bear the appropriate license that allows them to use it.

Article 32: Pilots and crew should carry certificates of suitability to perform their task, these issued by the State in which the aircraft is registered. However, a third party Member State may not recognize the certificates of suitability issued by another country.

Article 33: The certificates of suitability airworthiness, etc. Those are issued by a State and will be recognized by all the signatory States of the Convention only if such certificates meet minimum requirements imposed by this Convention.

Article 40: No aircraft, not even a personal one that has the certificates or licenses in order as previously specified, shall participate in international navigation, without the permission of the State or States in whose territory they fly on. The registration or use of such aircraft, or of any of its certificated aircraft parts, over a State that is not the one the aircraft’s original homeland will be at the discretion of the State in which the aircraft or part is being imported.


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