International Air Transport Agreement

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Chicago, USA
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 08/02/1945

Category

Transport and telecommunications

Sub category

Aircrafts and civil aviation

Groups

ICAO

What is it about?

This Agreement recognizes and establishes five freedoms of air in respect of scheduled international air services: (i) to fly across the Contracting States’ territory without landing; (ii) to land for non-traffic purposes (maintenance or refuelling, for instance); (iii) to disembark in a foreign country traffic from the country of registry of the aircraft; (iv) to pick up in a foreign country traffic destined for the country of registry; (v) and to carry traffic between two foreign countries. This instrument also deals with the designation of routes to be followed within the Contracting States’ territory; the charges for the use of airport and other facilities related to air transit; and the settlement of disagreements amongst the Governments.

Why is it relevant?

In practice most Governments preferred to ratify the International Air Services Transit Agreement (Chicago, 07/12/1944) and not the present Convention. The reason being the scope of the present Convention was two broad, encompassing the last three freedoms directly related to traffic (rights related to the commercial exchange of goods).

Additional Information

The international community broadly accepted the first two privileges. Nevertheless, opposition was raised against the multilateral acceptance of the extensive privileges granted by the other three freedoms. The fifth right in particular, which allows an international airline to operate from one country to the other and then continue to a further country, was bitterly opposed. This fact amounted to a not significant acceptance of this Agreement (the last ratification dates from 1968 by Burundi and the USA withdrew from it in 1946, alleging that commercial value had been granted away by this Agreement). On the other hand, the International Air Services Transit Agreement (also signed in Chicago, 07/12/1944), which includes just the first two privileges, was largely accepted. The privileges are not applicable with respect to airports utilized for military purposes to the exclusion of any scheduled international air services. In addition, the exercise of these privileges should be in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also signed in Chicago, 07/12/1944). Moreover, the Contracting States accept this Agreement as abrogating all understandings and obligations between them that are inconsistent with its terms. If an airline of any Contracting State enters into any such inconsistent obligations, the State of which it is a national should use its best efforts to secure their termination.

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