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Air travel can be a risky business without guidelines to manage its operations. This is because it involves operations in different countries with different rules and regulations in their transport sectors; to be precise air industry. This brings about the need to develop a common ground in relation to regulations that ought to guide the air industry all over the world. Common operating principles in air transport helps in solving disputes that may arise among other technicalities involved in the industry. This paper is going to look at the international regulatory environment dealing with air industry.
The Chicago Convention.
The Chicago Convention is also known as The Convention on International Civil Aviation which took place in Chicago America in the year 1944. Its main function is regulating and coordinating international air travel. The Chicago Convention at the time was meant to put in place principles and methods to be used in adopting a new aviation convention, set up an interim council to collect, record and study data based on international aviation and make recommendations for its improvements, make plans for establishment of provisional world air routes and services. This convention led to the development of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) an agency of the United Nations that deals with registration rule of aircrafts, airspace and safety. It also points out rights of air travel signatories.
Air Service Agreements
These are agreements between a country and foreign aviation partners. The agreements form a basis for airlines of involved countries to provide international air services for mail, cargo and passengers. Air Service agreements bring about competition between participatory countries which is good for the industry. There are different types of air service agreements and they include;
- Bilateral Air Service Agreements.
This is an air transport contract that seeks to liberalize aviation services between two contracting countries. It usually deals with the commercial and civil aviation. The agreement allows airlines of contracting countries to operate commercial flights that involve transport of cargo and passengers of the two countries. In some cases the agreements may involve transportation of military equipment and personnel of the contracting nations. This agreement also controls the capacity, frequency and pricing of air services between the countries.
Bilateral agreement may permit airlines of the two nations to either bring or pick up passengers and cargo to a country that is not in the agreement from the host country to the airlines’ home country or to the country not in the agreement but with which the contracting country has an agreement called open skies agreement.
- Multilateral Air Service Agreements.
This kind of air agreement is similar to bilateral agreements only that it involves contractual commitments for more than two nations. Its is an extension of bilateral agreements.
- Open Skies Agreements.
This agreement is an air agreement seeking to liberalize rules for international aviation markets. It can take the form of bilateral or multilateral agreements. The agreements have proven to be of great benefit to both cargo and passengers. The main aim of this kind of agreement is to reduce government intervention in air operations and to adjust regime allowing military and other state based flights.
Freedoms of the air.
Freedom of the air refers to the international services allowed between two or more countries regarding aviation. This applies aviation activities concerned with transportation of mail or cargo and carrying of passengers. The first five freedoms are deemed official international treaties while the rest are not.
- The right to fly over a foreign country. For example, country 1 flying to country 3 using the air space of country 2. This requires country 1 to sign the first freedom with country 2 to allow airlines from both countries to use each others air space.
- The right to make a stop for refueling and maintenance in a foreign country en route to another country. The example here is an airline from country 1 flying to country 3 making a stop in country 2 to either refuel or for maintenan.............
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