Aviation Law

Aviation law governs all facets of air travel. It impacts those parties that provide air travel services, such as airlines, pilots, maintenance crews, security personnel and air traffic controllers. It also affects those that purchase air travel services, such as passengers and couriers.

Federal Aviation Law

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) serve as the primary federal agencies that regulate air travel.

  • FAA. The FAA issues and enforces regulations on the manufacture, operation and maintenance of aircraft. The FAA also certifies pilots and airports, and provides navigation and air traffic management services to civil and military aircraft.
  • NTSB. The NTSB investigates all civil aviation accidents in the United States and issues safety recommendations to prevent future aviation accidents.
  • TSA. Created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the TSA checks baggages and screens passengers for security threats.

State Laws

Although states cannot regulate rates, routes, or services of carriers, they may enact their own laws that are consistent with federal aviation law.

International Laws and Organizations

Because of the international nature of air travel, countries have entered into conventions to normalize the laws that regulate airlines and set forth the rights of passengers. For example, the Warsaw Convention limits the liability of airlines for accidents on international flights, except where the airline engaged in willful misconduct.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) also regulates air travel by providings general rules and mediating international aviation law disputes.

Featured CasesFeed






  • MARPA Remains Vigilant on behalf of its Members October 19, 2017 Last month MARPA attended the Certification Management Team ("CMT") meeting in Ottawa. For those unfamiliar, the CMT is a quadrilateral group comprised of the FAA, EASA, Transport Canada, and ANAC Brazil that works to optimize the certification…
  • ARC Dispute May Mean Further Delay in Needed Drone Regulation October 19, 2017 The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), chartered earlier this year, was unable to reach a consensus on key issues. Given that Michael Huerta, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration…
  • New USAF Workshop Added to the 2017 MARPA Conference October 13, 2017 MARPA is pleased to announce that a new 2017 MARPA Conference workshop has been added: "How to Do Business with the US Air Force", hosted by Randy Harris and Myron Knight – SASPO, United States Air Force. Randy and Myron will join us on…
  • Flight School Security Awareness Training: Are You In Compliance? October 13, 2017 After 9/11, the TSA determined that flight schools and flight instructors were in a position to help provide security in the aviation environment. As a result, the TSA enacted regulations requiring both flight schools and independent CFIs to receive…
  • What State and Local Laws Will Fly When it Comes to Drones? October 11, 2017 Tressie McKeon writes: Drone laws today are confusing. Looking around the country we see that many states and cities have passed their own laws and regulations to ban or restrict the use of drones. For example, in Texas, Texas Government Code Section…