Article on Aviation



Aviation law is the branch of law that concerns flight, air travel, and associated legal and business concerns. Some of its area of concern overlaps that of admiralty law and, in many cases, aviation law is considered a matter of internal law due to the nature of air travel. However, the business aspects of airlines and their regulation also fall under aviation law. In the international realm, the international civil aviation organization (ICAO) provides general rules and mediates international concerns to an extent regarding aviation law. The ICAO is a special agency of unitied nation

In the United States and in most European nations, aviation law is considered a federal or state-level concern and is regulated at that level. In the U.S., states cannot govern aviation matters in most cases directly but look to Federal laws and case law for this function instead. For example, a court recently struck down New York’s Passenger Bill of Rights law because regulation of aviation is traditionally a federal concern. Aviation law, however, is not in the United States held under the same Federal mandate of jurisdiction as admiralty law; that is, while the UN Constitution provides for the administration of admiralty, it does not provide such for aviation law. States and municipalities do have some indirect regulation over aviation. For example, zoning laws can require an airport to be located away from residential areas, and airport usage can be restricted to certain times of day. State product-liabilities law are not preempted by Federal law and in most cases, aviation manufacturers may be held strictly liable for defects in aviation products.



Air law, the body of law directly or indirectly concerned with civil aviation. Aviation in this context extends to both heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air aircraft. Air-cushion vehicles are not regarded as aircraft by the  (ICAO), but the practice of individual states in this regard is not yet settled. The earliest legislation in air law was a 1784 decree of the Paris police forbidding balloon flights without a special permit.

Because of the essentially international character of aviation, a large part of air law is either international law or international uniform law (rules of national law that have by agreement been made internationally uniform). Insofar as international air law is concerned, it need hardly be mentioned that an international agreement or an amendment thereto is binding only on states that are parties to it.

Types of acts

A disruptive passenger is someone who by their actions or stated intentions jeopardizes or might jeopardize the safety of the aircraft, persons aboard it, or property therein. The international air transport association has promulgated a ‘non-exhaustive’ list of behavior which counts as unruly or disruptive. The list mentions the following acts:

  • Illegally consuming narcotics,
  • Smoking cigarettes in the aircraft,
  • Consuming excessive alcohol,
  • Refusing to comply with safety instructions,
  • Verbal or physical confrontation with crew members or other passengers,
  • Sexual harassment/abuse,
  • Making threats towards the crew or other passengers, and
  • Other types of reckless behavior, including screaming, banging head on the seatbacks, etc.


The instances of unruly behavior are constantly on the rise. All the industry stakeholders should make coordinated efforts for the prevention of these incidents and mitigation of the effects. This problem extends to every authority involved in civil aviation and not just the airlines. It is important to take preventive measures but the airline should also be prepared to manage the incident.


BY – Kartikeya Manoj Saxena




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