Aviation regulations cover almost all legal issues affecting aircraft and airport operations, including aircraft navigation and maintenance, air traffic control safety, and personnel licensing requirements.

Regulation is to give official direction to bring about and maintain a desired degree of order. All regulation involves a regulatory process. It also includes various patterns of activity by people interacting to establish and maintain some desired result for the subject or entities being regulated.

All regulation involves regulatory structure, i.e. the organizations or other entities involved and the legal framework (such as licenses, regulations, and agreements).

Regulation of International Air Transport

The process and structure of international air transport regulation have three distinct venues –

  1. National Regulation
  2. Bilateral Regulation
  3. Multilateral Regulation


National regulation of air transport is regulation undertaken by a State within its territory in its exercise of sovereignty over that territory and the airspace above it.

The process of national regulation involves three distinct kinds of actions – Legislating, Licensing, and Determining ad hoc authorizations.

Legislative Component

The legislative component of the process of national regulation has three elements: law-making, policy-making, and the writing of rules and regulations. Each element of the process is likely to differ from the others and to vary from State to State according to its particular legislative system, governmental structure, and customary practices.

Licensing Component

The licensing component of the process of national regulation involves the consideration of and action upon applications received from national and foreign air carriers for authority to provide commercial air services on a continuous basis and for extended periods of time (for example, scheduled services on a specified route or routes). In addition to licensing national and foreign air carriers, air transport authorities may also engage in licensing certain intermediaries in air transportation such as tour organizers, freight forwarders, or travel agents.

Ad Hoc Authorization

Unlike the licensing component which deals with relatively general and longer-term authorizations for air services, the ad hoc authorization component of the process of national regulation primarily involves making day-to-day decisions regarding specific matters, such as permitting a single flight or a series of non-scheduled flights or approving or disapproving a particular tariff or schedule filing.

The process of national regulation of air transport services has three basic components.

Let’s understand with examples –

  • Legislative – Making of laws, policies, rules and regulations.
  • Licensing – Granting, conditioning, denying or withholding of permission to conduct air transport services on a continuous or long-term basis.
  • Ad hoc authorization – Granting, conditioning, denying or withholding of permission for individual tariffs, flights, etc.

The structure of national regulation of international air transport has –

  • an organizational component consisting of a governmental entity or entities which function as the State’s air transport authorities as well as certain other non-aviation governmental bodies, the actions of which affect international air transport; and
  • a legal component embodied in the pertinent national laws, rules and regulations, judicial and administrative decisions, licences and/or permits and declared policies as well as relevant international agreements to which the State is a party.


Bilateral regulation is regulation undertaken jointly by two parties, most typically by two States, although one or both parties might also be a group of States, a supra-State (i.e. a community or other union of States acting as a single body under authority granted to it by its member States), a regional governmental body or even two airlines (for example, in the determination of capacity or prices). The goal of bilateral regulation in the international air transport field is typically the conclusion, implementation, or continuance of some kind of intergovernmental agreement or understanding concerning air services between the territories of the two parties.


Multilateral regulation is regulation undertaken jointly by three or more States, within the framework of an international organization and/or a multilateral treaty or agreement, or as a separate specific activity, and may be broadly construed to include relevant regulatory processes and structures, outcomes, or output written as treaties or other agreements, resolutions, decisions, directives, or regulations, as well as the observations, conclusions, guidance, and discussions of multinational bodies, both intergovernmental and non-governmental. The goal of multilateral regulation in the air transport field is, for the most part, the conclusion, implementation, or continuance of common arrangements, policies, agreements, or regulations on matters of interest to the various parties. This chapter provides a brief history of the multilateral regulation of international air transport.

International standards and regulations are necessary for safe, regular, efficient, and economical air transport and this is made possible by ICAO.


After World War 2 aircraft technology was getting mature in several nations. However, there was no clear limitation for the sky, people were using different languages and measurements. It was dangerous and inefficient for flying in the sky around the world. As a result, ICAO came out.

We cannot merge all the nations around the world into one nation, but we can make an organization to ask all the member nations to follow the standard we made through this organization.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, established to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention), was signed on 07-Dec-1944 by 52 States.

The aims and objectives of ICAO, as contained in Article 44 of the Chicago Convention, are to develop the principles and techniques of international air navigation and to foster the planning and development of international air transport so as to:

  • Ensure the safe and orderly growth of international civil aviation throughout the world;
  • Encourage the arts of aircraft design and operation for peaceful purposes;
  • Encourage the development of airways, airports and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation;
  • Meet the needs of the peoples of the world for safe, regular, efficient and economical air transport;
  • Prevent economic waste caused by unreasonable competition;
  • Ensure that the rights of Member States are fully respected and that every Member State has a fair opportunity to operate international airlines;
  • Avoid discrimination between Member States;
  • Promote safety of flight in international air navigation; and
  • Promote generally the development of all aspects of international civil aeronautics.

ICAO is the only world leader in international civil aviation which creates regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, and environmental protection. All other relevant authorities and organizations work with ICAO.

ICAO promotes the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.

ICAO is funded and directed by 193 national governments to support their diplomacy and cooperation in air transport.

ICAO audits the aviation safety and aviation security oversight capacities of its 193 Member States. In the Safety domain, these are carried out under our Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), while in the security domain we operate a similar Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP).

It is important to recognize that these audits do not cover airlines, airports, or other industry operators. Rather they are restricted to only the legislation, resources, and other capacities which State governments establish in order to effectively implement ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in each area.

Aggregated USOAP results may be reviewed interactively by the public on ICAO’s website.

USAP results are confidential and are not made public. They are, however, shared with the other Member States through suitably confidential mechanisms.

The Convention is supported by 19 annexes containing standards and recommended practices (SARPs).

Standards and Recommended Practices

Standard – Any specification for physical characteristics, configuration, matériel, performance, personnel, or procedure, the uniform application of which is recognized as necessary for the safety or regularity of international air navigation and to which Contracting States will conform in accordance with the Convention.

Recommended Practice – Any specification for physical characteristics, configuration, matériel, performance, personnel or procedure, the uniform application of which is recognized as desirable in the interests of safety, regularity or efficiency of international air navigation, and to which Contracting States will endeavour to conform in accordance with the Convention.


Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) are contained in 19 Annexes for each area of ICAO responsibility.

  • Annex 1 : Personnel Licensing 
  • Annex 2 : Rules of the Air
  • Annex 3 : Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation
  • Annex 4 : Aeronautical Charts
  • Annex 5 : Units of Measurement to be Used in Air and Ground Operations
  • Annex 6 : Operation of Aircraft
  • Annex 7 : Aircraft Nationality and Registration Marks
  • Annex 8 : Airworthiness of Aircraft
  • Annex 9 : Facilitation
  • Annex 10 : Aeronautical Telecommunications
  • Annex 11 : Air Traffic Services
  • Annex 12 : Search and Rescue
  • Annex 13 : Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation
  • Annex 14 : Aerodromes
  • Annex 15 : Aeronautical Information Services
  • Annex 16 : Environmental Protection
  • Annex 17 : Security: Safeguarding International Civil Aviation Against Acts of Unlawful Interference
  • Annex 18 : The Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air
  • Annex 19 : Safety Management

Each Annex deals with a particular subject area. All are subject to regular amendment and the detail in respect of many of them is contained in publications in the numbered ICAO Document Series.


Here is the list of some ICAO Docs

  • Doc 4444 – Air Traffic Management
  • Doc 7192 – Training Manual
  • Doc 7300 – Convention on International Civil Aviation
  • Doc 7488 – Manual of the ICAO Standard Atmosphere
  • Doc 8071 – Manual on Testing of Radio Navigation Aids
  • Doc 8168 – Aircraft Operations
  • Doc 8400 – ICAO Abbreviations and Codes
  • Doc 8697 – Aeronautical Charts Manual
  • Doc 9137 – Airport Services Manual
  • Doc 9157 – Aerodrome Design Manual
  • Doc 9184 – Airport Planning Manual
  • Doc 9284 – Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air
  • Doc 9365 – Manual of All-Weather Operations
  • Doc 9375 – Dangerous Goods Training Manual
  • Doc 9432 – Manual of Radiotelephony
  • Doc 9613 – Performance-based Navigation (PBN) Manual
  • Doc 9626 – Manual on the Regulation of International Air Transport
  • Doc 9640 – Manual of Aircraft Ground De-icing/Anti-icing Operations
  • Doc 9683 – Human Factors Training Manual
  • Doc 9718 – Handbook on Radio Frequency Spectrum Requirements for Civil Aviation
  • Doc 9734 – Safety Oversight Manual
  • Doc 9735 – Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Manual
  • Doc 9760 – Airworthiness Manual
  • Doc 9824 – Human Factors Guidelines for Aircraft Maintenance Manual
  • Doc 9841 – Manual on the Approval of Training Organizations
  • Doc 9944 – Guidelines on Passenger Name Record (PNR) Data
  • Doc 9849 – Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Manual
  • Doc 9859 – Safety Management Manual (SMM)
  • Doc 9863 – Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) Manual
  • Doc 9871 – Technical Provisions for Mode S Services and Extended Squitter
  • Doc 9962 – Manual on Accident and Incident Investigation Policies and Procedures
  • Doc 9976 – Flight Planning and Fuel Management (FPFM) Manual
  • Doc 10002 – Cabin Crew Safety Training Manual
  • Doc 10019 – Manual on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)
  • Doc 10020 – Manual on Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs)
  • Doc 10072 – Manual on the Establishment of Minimum Cabin Crew Requirements
  • Doc 10085 – Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO) Manual
  • Doc 10086 – Manual on Information and Instructions for Passenger Safety


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the worldwide non-governmental organization of scheduled airlines established in 1945 to promote safe, regular, and economical air transport, to provide means for collaboration among air transport enterprises, and to cooperate with ICAO, other international organizations, and regional airline associations (website: www.iata.org). IATA has two main offices (one in Montreal and the other in Geneva) and over 90 regional offices.

IATA membership is open to any operating company which has been licensed to provide international air service. IATA active membership is open to airlines engaged directly in international operations, while IATA associate membership is open to domestic airlines. IATA has over 270 member airlines.

Unlike ICAO with several national governments as its members, IATA (International Air Transportation Association) is a trade association for the worlds’ airlines.

Because IATA is an association, people are gathering together and discussing how to make a win-win in their market. They will find out how to make their service better, more efficient, and more safe.

IATA’s mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. IATA is for –

  • Airlines
  • Airports
  • Ground Handlers
  • Industry Partners
  • Air Traffic Management
  • Government & Regulators
  • Travelers
  • Travel Agents
  • Freight Forwarders


  • has lots of programs..
  • has lots of policy..
  • has training courses..
  • has publications & guidelines..
  • also provide services..
  • also organise events..

IATA works with ICAO and other relevant authorities.

IATA Strategic Partners (Industry Suppliers & Manufacturers) provide their expertise by supporting the activities and initiatives of IATA and its member airlines.

IATA’s Membership

IATA membership is open to airlines operating scheduled and non-scheduled air services that maintain an IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registration. The IATA Operational & Safety Audit (IOSA) is a mandatory requirement for IATA membership.

IATA collaborates with airports worldwide to ensure infrastructure development and charges adhere to established principles.

Safety Audit Programs

  • IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) – for Airline.
  • IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) – for ground handling companies.
  • IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) – Airline operators of smaller aircraft that are not eligible for the IOSA program.

Manuals & Guidelines

Some of the main publications are –

  • Airport Handling Manual
  • IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM)
  • Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)
  • Live Animals Regulations (LAR)
  • Cargo Handling Manual (ICHM)
  • ULD Regulations (ULDR)
  • And much more ….


Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of its members to shape crucial policies and measures that promote safety, security, and a healthy U.S. airline industry.

There are two main A4A publications aviation maintenance personnel must-read.

  • iSpec 2200: Information Standards for Aviation Maintenance
  • MSG-3: Operator/Manufacturer Scheduled Maintenance Development


CAA, Civil Aviation Authority, generally, all the civil aviation authorities in different countries can be called CAA, but sometimes people may call them differently in their countries. For example, in the United States, we call it the FAA. In Japan, we call it JCAB.

CAAs belong to their national government. Sometimes CAA is also referred to as NAA, National Aviation Authority. They may not make laws, but they enforce aviation laws. The NAA, as a national regulator, operates within a framework established by ICAO.

The Civil Aviation Authority of any country is the competent authority that deals in pilot and personnel licensing, aircraft and airport operations, drones, incident reporting, air travel, and airworthiness.

Duties and Responsibilities of CAA

  • To study, analyze and develop civil aviation activities in the aspects of safety, environmental protection, air transport facilitation, air transport economy as well as the civil aviation infrastructure system of the country;
  • To give a recommendation on a policy to the Civil Aviation Board concerning civil aviation and air transport;
  • To give a recommendation to the Minister on the issuance of ministerial regulations under the law on air navigation;
  • To perform the duty as the secretariat for the Civil Aviation Board under the law on air navigation, and perform other works as assigned by the Civil Aviation Board;
  • To take action to prepare the National Civil Aviation facilitation program, security program, and safety program including the master plan for commercial airport establishment in the country to be proposed to the Civil Aviation Board for approval, as well as to regulate and control implementation according to those programs;
  • To take action to systemize civil aviation, and stipulate rules, procedures, and conditions concerning airspace utilization to optimize safety and efficiency;
  • To inspect, monitor, control and encourage those involved in aviation industry and civil aviation activities to comply with laws, rules, procedures, and International Standards;
  • To regulate aerodrome activities and licensed aerodrome established under the law on air navigation or other laws to ensure safety and meet International Standard;
  • To give cooperation with, and support to, the Civil Aviation Board and government agencies in coordination or negotiation with international organizations or foreign countries related to air traffic rights or entry into any agreement related to civil aviation which is subject to the powers and duties of other government agencies;
  • To cooperate and coordinate with relevant organizations or agencies, both domestic and international, in the matter of civil aviation in accordance with Country’s obligations under international conventions or agreements;
  • To promote and support research and development for civil aviation activities;
  • To certify training courses and training organizations for personnel under the law on air navigation and stipulate other required qualifications and knowledge of aviation personnel;
  • To stipulate standards for officers’ performance under the law on air navigation;
  • To establish the aircraft registry and registry for personnel and other persons relating to civil aviation;
  • To prepare and distribute knowledge and news concerning civil aviation;
  • To perform any other action that is necessary or sequential to achieve the Authority’s objectives, that is prescribed by law as the powers and duties of the Authority, or that is assigned by the Minister or the Cabinet.


The very special one is EASA in Europe. It’s not a CAA. Every country which is a member of EASA has its own CAA, but it also follows the rule under EASA.

European Union has established the European Aviation Safety Agency – EASA. Original fields covered were aircraft certification and initial and continuing airworthiness. The first extension added operations & licensing, the Second extension added aerodromes & air traffic management.

The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) was an associated body of the European Civil Aviation Conference representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of a number of European States who had agreed to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures. It was not a regulatory body, regulation being achieved through the member authorities. It was in existence from 1970 until disbanded in 2009.

JAA issued the Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR), intended to establish minimum requirements for air safety.

JAA consisted of a Liaison Office (JAA LO) and a Training Office (JAA TO). 

In 2009, JAA was disbanded. Only the training organization, JAA-TO, remains.

The establishment of the EASA created a Europe-wide regulatory authority that has absorbed most functions of the JAA (in the EASA Members states).

The JAA Training Organisation (known as JAA-TO) is now in full operation as a commercial entity, registered in the Netherlands, with its headquarters at Hoofddorp, and offering formal training courses in a wide range of aviation subjects through a number of training course venues worldwide.


The FAA is the agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for the regulation and oversight of civil aviation within the U.S., as well as the operation and development of the National Airspace System. Its primary mission is to ensure the safety of civil aviation.

Aviation Links

Here is a wide range of links to sites of interest to the civil aviation community.

Governments and government-related

International organizations

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