International Civil Aviation: The Chicago Convention of 1944


With more advancements in the field of international civil aviation, new and strong friendships and understanding between the different nations all over the world will certainly be built but as everything has both – pros and cons, this field has cons too. This evolution has brought new challenges to be faced along with the commendable progress. These challenges could emerge out as a result of the abuse of such aviation activities that in exchange could lead to threatening the general security of the world at large.

The Chicago Convention 1944

The convention on international civil aviation was concluded in Chicago on 7th December 1944. Fifty-two countries signed this document and the International Civil Aviation organization was established for regulating air travel activities.

Let us now have a look at the different features of this document.

Sovereignty and territory

The document recognizes every state as equally eligible to carry out aviation activities over the space encompassing its territorial area. The territorial area for the reference would be the land areas and the waters adjacent to that land.

Such territorial limits are prescribed to mark the area to be in control of that State whose territory it is.

Difference between civil and state aircraft

State aircraft are the ones that are used in the service related to police, military or customs. Apart from the aircraft used for the above-mentioned purpose are known as civil aircraft.

Now, this convention is only applicable to the civil aircraft and the civil aircraft can only fly over the territory of different countries but the state aircraft are not allowed to do so unless it is authorized by some special agreement.

Furthermore, in such an agreement, it should be made certain by the state of whose state aircraft it is that the necessary arrangements have been made to ensure safety while navigating the state aircraft.

The purpose of the use of civil aviation should not be inconsistent with the provisions made hereto.

Detention or seizure

For an illustration, if any contracting state’s aircraft is detained or seized by another contracting state while flying over its territory for some patent issue, the seizure will not be permitted. Under this convention, the contracting state has no right for seizure or detention of the aircraft flying with or without landing, on the grounds concerning any issue related to construction, mechanical process, aircraft’s parts, and accessories, infringement of any patent, or model and design

Facilities and standard systems

This convention provides for some rules regarding facilities that have to be adhered to by all contracting states. These facilities include:

  • Constructing airports and air navigation services.
  • Providing radio and meteorological services.
  • Standard system used for lighting, communication, codes, etc.
  • Aeronautics charts and maps.
  • License to all the crew members.

Apart from this, the aircraft should have a radio transmitting apparatus only if the license to install such apparatus is provided. The apparatus should only be used by the crew persons who hold a proper license for such activities.

Also, every aircraft has to stand the test of airworthiness by achieving a certificate regarding it. Along with it, the crew members should have a competency certificate and proper license provided by competent authorities. The competency certificate should be issued only by the state which owns the aircraft and that the owner state’s authorization will only be valid and accepted by the other contracting states. Apart from it, the journey logbooks have to be maintained from time to time and the states can ban any photographic apparatus on board in the aircraft.

International standards and practices

  • All the standards laid down, procedures and regulations made regarding the air facility and auxiliary services should be uniform in all aspects to strengthen and improve the air navigation services and to bring uniformity.
  • There will be international standards made, so if any contracting states want to bring in a change in its own practices that differ from the international standard, it should immediately inform the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Let us see what matters have to be taken care of:

  1. Communications channels and air navigation aids like ground marking;
  2. Information regarding the airports in each state and landing areas therein;
  3. Regulations and rules of the air traffic control;
  4. Providing license to the operating and mechanical crew;
  5. Aircraft’s airworthiness and the identification marks;
  6. Registration of aircraft;
  7. Collecting and exchanging the meteorological Information;
  8. Logbooks, aeronautical charts, and maps;
  9. Customs and immigration procedures;
  10. Knowledge regarding the aircraft in distress and complete report of the investigation of accidents.

Now, if these standards are not met, the aircraft should endorse the details of the fail and its cause on the airworthiness certificate. In case of personnel who have failed to perform his duties properly, the same that is the details of the fail including its causes should be attached to the certificate of license.


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