Aviation Law is a body of law that deals with air travel, flight, and other associated business and legal concerns about aviation. In most cases, some areas of this law overlap those of admiralty laws. The business aspects and regulations of airlines fall under this law. In the United States, the applied aspects of flight are governed by the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration. In the international scene, ICAO or International Civil Aviation Organization provides the general rules concerning aviation matters. ICAO is an authorized agency by the United Nations. This agency also plays mediator to international aviation concerns.
In many European countries as well as the United States, Aviation Law is regarded as a state or federal level concern. The law is thereby regulated at that level. However, in the United States, the states cannot govern aviation matters in many cases instead they are directed to case laws or federal laws. The United States Constitution is not the one that provides the administration of Aviation Law. In addition, aviation manufacturers are held strictly liable for any defects or malfunctions of their aviation products.
Space Law is also connected to the Aviation Law. This law governs issues concerning the outer space of the atmosphere of the Earth. This law is relatively new and supported with its own academic journals. As expected, much of the rules covered in this law is linked to the Aviation Law.
Aviation Law also regulates rules both for the aircraft and its facilities. Although some nations in the world are able to enact their air travel related laws, the federal is still the major governing body for Aviation Law. The nations as well as states cannot dictate routes, services, and rates. The World Congress had now used its constitutional power in regulating foreign and interstate commerce as basis for creating acts and laws related to aviation.
The NTSB or National Transport Safety Board and the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration are two most important players in the Aviation Law. NTSB is the one responsible in the improvement of air travel safety as well as on investigations of all problems and accidents related to the industry of aviation. If necessary, NTSB also make recommendations on changes. Meanwhile, the FAA is the one responsible in ensuring that the maintenance, operation, and manufacture of all the aircrafts will meet all current regulations and minimum standards. It also enforces laws related to aviation issues.
Compared to FAA, NTSB is an independent federan agency. It is not linked to the Department of Transportation. Aside from investigating aviation accidents and proposing enhancement for air safety, NTSB also functions as a court of appeal for cases involving aviation workers and pilots. It has neither enforcement nor regulatory powers however its findings only serves as recommendation and information. Apparently, its reputation for meaningful counsels, and thorough impartial investigations.
Unlike NTSB, FAA had been an integral part of the Department of Transportation since 1967. It is the main regulatory branch for aviation standards and safety. Just like NTSB, FAA has the enforcement powers and capability to revise and issue regulations related to all air travel aspects, navigation, safety research, and manufacture.