An Air India Ltd. aircraft prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, on Monday, July 10, 2017. Air Indias local market share has shrunk to about 13 percent from 35 percent just a decade ago. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Aviation Law

Revolutionized by liberalization, the aviation sector in India has been marked by fast-paced change in the past few years. From being a service that few could afford, the sector has now graduated to being a fiercely competitive industry with the presence of a number of private and public airlines and several consumer-oriented offerings.   

The Indian aviation sector can be broadly divided into the following four categories: 

  • Domestic airlines 
  • International airlines 
  • Non-Scheduled Operators (Charter operators and Air Taxi operators) and 
  • Air Cargo Services.  

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) was formed for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India. Tasks & responsibilities of the AAI includes the following: Design, Development, Operation and Maintenance of international and domestic airports and civil enclaves; Control and Management of the Indian airspace extending beyond the territorial limits of the country, as accepted by ICAO; Construction, Modification and Management of passenger terminals; Development and Management of cargo terminals at international and domestic airports; Provision of passenger facilities and information system at the passenger terminals at airports; Expansion and strengthening of operation area, viz. Runways, Aprons, Taxiway etc; Provision of visual aids; Provision of Communication and Navigation aids, viz. ILS, DVOR, DME Radar etc. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation, primarily dealing with safety issues. It is responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards. The DGCA also co-ordinates all regulatory functions with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).  Other tasks which the DGCA performs includes the following: Registration of civil aircraft; Formulation of standards of airworthiness for civil aircraft registered in India and grant of certificates of airworthiness to such aircraft; Licensing of pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and flight engineers, and conducting examinations and checks for that purpose; Licensing of air traffic controllers; Certification of aerodromes and CNS/ATM facilities; Granting of Air Operator’s Certificates to Indian carriers and regulation of air transport services operating to/from/within/over India by Indian and foreign operators, including clearance of scheduled and non-scheduled flights of such operators; Conducting investigation into accidents/incidents and taking accident prevention measures including formulation of implementation of Safety Aviation Management programmes; Carrying out amendments to the Aircraft Act, the Aircraft Rules and the Civil Aviation Requirements for complying with the amendments to ICAO Annexes, and initiating proposals for amendment to any other Act or for passing a new Act in order to give effect to an international Convention or amendment to an existing Convention; Coordination at national level for flexi-use of air space by civil and military air traffic agencies and interaction with ICAO for provision of more air routes for civil use through Indian air space; Keeping a check on aircraft noise and engine emissions in accordance with ICAO Annex 16 and collaborating with the environmental authorities in this matter, if required; Promoting indigenous design and manufacture of aircraft and aircraft components by acting as a catalytic agent; and Approving training programmes of operators for carriage of dangerous goods, issuing authorizations for carriage of dangerous goods, etc. 


The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) was initially set up as a Cell in the DGCA in January 1978 on the recommendation of the Pande Committee. The main responsibilities of BCAS include laying down standards and measures with respect to security of civil flights at international and domestic airports in India. BCAS Head quarter is located at “A” Wing, I-III floor, Janpath BhavanJanpath, New Delhi-110001. It has got four Regional Offices located at International airports i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Tasks & responsibilities of the BCAS includes the following: Laying down Aviation Security Standards in accordance with Annex 17 to Chicago Convention of ICAO for airport operators, airlines operators, and their security agencies responsible for implementing AVSEC measures; Monitoring the implementation of security rules and regulations and carrying out survey of security needs; Ensure that the persons implementing security controls are appropriately trained and possess all competencies required to perform their dutie; Planning and coordination of Aviation security matters; Surprise/Dummy checks to test professional efficiency and alertness of security staff; Mock exercise to test efficacy of Contingency Plans and operational preparedness of the various agencies. 

International Aviation Agencies:- International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)- A UN Agency; US Federal Aviation Administration.  

Indian Aviation Agencies:- Director General Of Civil Aviation (DGCA)- Aviation Safety Regulator; Bureau of Civil Aviation Security [BCAS]. 

Governing Legislations: Aircraft Act 1934, Aircraft Rules, 1937; Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act,2008, Airport Authority of India Act, 1994, Air Corporations Act, 1953, Tokyo Convention Act, 1975, and various other legislations pertaining to the aviation sector in the country. 

Court & Fora: Airports Economic Regulatory Authority; Airport Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal, O/o Competition Appellate Tribunal 19th Floor, Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan, Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110 001; High Courts of the concerned States; and the Hon’ble Supreme Court Of India.  

Concerned Ministry:  Ministry of Civil Aviation. 

Hello Counselcaters its clients belonging to all the four categories of national and international aviation. We are well equipped to handle all legal and commercial matters related to aviation sector including aviation leasing and finance, registration and liability claims. We have adequate experience and skill to deal diligently with all the contract related litigation, corporate work, employment contracts, real estate contracts, passenger claims, baggage and freight claims and other related matters. We extensively deals in cases relating to passenger claims, and has an extensive experience of handling grounding of aircraft, hull, liability, carriage of cargo and passengers including insurance aspects and the Warsaw Convention which applies to all international carriage of persons, luggage or goods. We also deal with cases relating to transfer, promotion and increment of our clients working with the aviation sector. Our assistance to the clients in the aviation sector includes: 

  • Drafting Of Airport Agreement 
  • Drafting Of Agreement For Sale Purchase And Leasing Of Aircraft Agreement. 
  • Drafting Of Airway Bills 
  • Drafting Of Sale, Freight Forwarding Contract 
  • Drafting Of Real Estate Contract 
  • Assistance To Clients In Merger And Acquisition 
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution services

Vital Features Of Aviation Law 

  • Airport Infrastructure- Issues Relating To Airport Infrastructure 
  • Airport Agreement 
  • Agreement For Sale Purchase And Leasing Of Aircraft Agreement 
  • Airway Bills 
  • Baggage And Freight Claims 
  • Custom Issues- Aviation Related Custom Issues 
  • Corporate Work 
  • Contracts- Real Estate Contracts 
  • Carriage Of Cargo And Passengers 
  • Employment Contracts 
  • Freight Forwarding Contract 
  • Grounding Of Aircraft 
  • Hull 
  • Insurance 
  • Liability 
  • Litigation 
  • Merger And Acquisition 
  • Other Related Matters 
  • Passenger Claims 
  • Real Estate Contract 
  • Transfer, Promotion And Increment 
  • Warsaw Convention 

Legislations Governing The Aviation Affairs In India 

Judgments Concerning The Aviation Involving The Following Legislations 

Judgments Concerning The Civil Aviation Requirement [CAR] 

  • Indian Institute of Aircraft Engineering Vs. Union of India [DB], WP (C) No. 3513/2012, Judgment Dated: 21/05/2013, Bench: D. Murugesan, C.J. & Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, J., Delhi High Court- Citation: 2013(30) STR 689- Aircraft Rules, 1937- Rule 133-B- Rules and CAR issued by DGCA- Nature of-  Held, Rules and the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) dealing with aircrafts are law- Narsingh Pratap Singh Deo Vs. State of Orissa, AIR 1964 SC 1793 & R.S. Nayak Vs. A.R. Antulay, (1984) 2 SCC 183, Referred (Para 26).

Judgments: Aviation Involving The ID Act, 1947 

  • Sheela Joshi Vs. Air India (Formly Known as National Aviation Company of India Ltd. (NACIL), LPA No. 806/2012, Judgment: 19/02/2013, Bench: D. Murugesan, C.J. & V.K. Jain, J., Delhi High Court, Citation: 2013(4) AD(Delhi) 196- Constitution of India- Article 226- Writ petition- Availability of efficacious alternative remedy, Maintainability of- Petitioners are working as Cabin Crew with the respondent Air India and duty time limitation and rest period for the Cabin Crew of Air India are regulated as per Memorandum of Settlement entered into between the parties- By office order, respondent communicated that FDTL/FTL applicable in case of officers shall be as per the latest DGCA requirements with immediate effect for all cabin crew/attendant for aircrafts of all types- Challenged by the appellants on the ground that it was in violation of CAR issued by Director General of Civil Aviation and without taking into consideration the Memorandum of Settlements- Held, no reason as to why the petitioners should not invoke the mechanism provided in the Industrial Disputes Act, for redressal of their grievance- Considering the availability of an equally efficacious alternative remedy available to the petitioners under the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act, this is not an appropriate case for exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution- Writ petition as well as the appeal arising therefrom are hereby dismissed.- Food Corporation of India And Another versus Seil Ltd. And Others, (2008) 3 SCC 440, Distinguished (Para 17)- HELD: We see no reason as to why the petitioners should not invoke the mechanism provided in the Industrial Disputes Act, for redressal of their grievance. In the event of an industrial dispute being raised by them which could be referred for adjudication under Section 10 of the said Act or Central Government making a reference under Section 36A as to the interpretation of the provisions of the Settlement in question, the matter would be adjudicated by the Tribunal/Labour Court, as the case may be, and the party aggrieved from the order of the Tribunal/Labour Court may, if so advised, take the matter further to the High Court by way of a writ petition. In the facts and circumstances of this case, considering the availability of an equally efficacious alternative remedy available to the petitioners under the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act, we are of the view that this is not an appropriate case for exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution (Para 17).

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