Nov 26, 2020

Every person in his/her childhood, while looking up at the sky wants to touch it, see the rainbow from above the clouds, and whatnot. Flying an aeroplane is still one of the dreams of many. But can a pilot fly anywhere s/he wants to? Are there any restrictions on it? The answer is Yes!

Not many know, but there are laws related to flying an aircraft which are known as aviation laws. Like land, air also has restrictions, and laws are needed for the same.

Aviation law is one of the branches of law which deals with legal issues related to air travel, flights, airport operations which includes air traffic control safety, aircraft navigation, maintenance, and pilot licensing requirements. It also affects the parties who provide and enjoy air travel services, such as airlines, maintenance crews, pilots, air traffic controllers, security personnel, passengers, and couriers.

The primary domestic legislation which governs the Indian aviation sector is The Aircraft Act 1934. Its functions include-

  1. Airport Infrastructure
  • It includes planning, developing, constructing, and maintaining runways, terminals, aprons, taxiways, an additional building, and civil enclaves at the airport.
  • Establishing airports or assisting in establishing private airports by offering such services which the Central Government considers necessary.

  1. Navigational Aids
  • It includes planning, procuring, installing, and maintaining navigational, and ground aids, communication equipment, and beacons at the airports.

  1. Air Safety
  • It includes providing safety measures.

  1. Consultancy
  • It includes developing and providing consultancy, and undertaking operations in India and abroad related to airports, air navigation services, etc.

There are several aviation agencies in India, and one of them is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is a statutory body formed under the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020. It examines accidents and incidents which are related to aviation. Some of the examples of aviation agencies include-

  1. Ministry of Civil Aviation
  2. Airports Authority of India
  3. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

In India, the first civil aviation aircraft on 18th February 1911, took off from Allahabad, carrying mail to Naini covering a distance of over 9.7kms.

But if standards of safety are ensured, why do accidents take place?

Accidents can occur due to traffic in the air when two planes coincide with each other. Rules are needed to reduce such accidents. Rules are important and must be followed for the smooth operation of the aviation industry. For the aircraft to work in an organized and smooth manner, rules regarding landing and taking off must be established.

Due to the international nature of air travel, countries have agreed to establish laws regulating aerospace, airlines, and propose passenger rights.

International flights are governed by International laws and the laws of the individual countries that the aircraft passes through. In the international domain, an international organization that provides rules and acts as a mediator in the matters of international concern regarding aviation law is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It is a specialized agency of the United Nations.


The principal aviation law in India was introduced in 1934, which includes several functions such as, airport infrastructure, navigational aids, air safety, and consultancy. Several agencies also deal with the aviation sector in the country, amongst them is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) whose function is to examine incidents and accidents which are related to the aviation sector. Even after safety standards are maintained, accidents take place mainly due to air traffic that needs to be regulated. Rules are necessary to reduce such accidents and for aircraft to work smoothly. International flights are regulated by international laws and the laws of the countries they pass through. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized organization of the United Nations that acts as a mediator amongst countries when a dispute arises due to aviation law.