Economic Advancement and Legislative Reform in India’s Aviation Sector


The safe and orderly development of international aviation is dependent upon effective implementation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the “Chicago Convention”). The cornerstone of this effort is the enactment of primary aviation legislation—a comprehensive aviation law—by each Contracting State. International assessments and high-level reviews within India, however, have revealed significant weaknesses in India’s aviation law. In addition, the rapid economic advancement of India’s aviation market is exacerbating tensions within the current legal structure. In response to these challenges, the Central Government introduced new legislation, the Civil Aviation Authority Act of India (“CAAI Act”). This effort at legislative reform, however, has stalled even as the underlying dynamic mandating change continues. India currently has the fastest growing domestic aviation market in the world to match the world’s fastest growing economy. In addition, India faces ongoing scrutiny from the international aviation community, including the risk of reputational harm and potential sanction for non-compliance with the Chicago Convention. The urgency for reform only increases with time. This article calls for a renewed effort to reform India’s civil aviation regulatory system based on the CAAI Act or an improved alternative. At the very least, legislative action is required to build a legal framework to support the rising flight path of India’s economy.


55 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. Bulletin 1501