Air Navigation and Transport Act

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The Air Navigation and Transport Act is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom Parliament in 1920 which gave the British Empire the authority to control air navigation in the Commonwealth countries and territories. It also put into effect the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN). [1]

An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. It is also comparable to an Act of Congress in the United States.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Air navigation navigation applied to aviation

The basic principles of air navigation are identical to general navigation, which includes the process of planning, recording, and controlling the movement of a craft from one place to another.


History of the Act

The first attempts at international regulation of air navigation were made in 1910 in Paris, when representatives of 19 European countries attended an International Air Conference. The meeting was abandoned when agreement on the contents could not be reached. At a peace conference after World War I the regulation of air navigation was once again discussed. Because of the advances made in aviation during the war, all attending members agreed to hold an International Conference to draw up rules and international regulations for air traffic. [1]

The Paris Convention of 1910, also known as the International Air Navigation Conference, Paris 1910 or Conférence internationale de navigation aérienne, was the first diplomatic conference to consider flight regulation, but no conclusion was reached.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Aviation Design, development, production, operation and use of aircraft

Aviation, or air transport, refers to the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. Aircraft includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing types, morphable wings, wing-less lifting bodies, as well as lighter-than-air craft such as balloons and airships.

On 25 February 1919, an Air Traffic Committee, of 36 states in the British Empire under the Council of Defence met for the first time. The Paris Convention was signed on 13 October 1919, by all attending representatives of the Commonwealth states. [1]

The Paris Convention of 1919 was the first international convention to address the political difficulties and intricacies involved in international aerial navigation. The convention was concluded under the auspices of the International Commission for Air Navigation. It attempted to reduce the confusing patchwork of ideologies and regulations which differed by country by defining certain guiding principles and provisions, and was signed in Paris on October 13, 1919.

Commonwealth of Nations Intergovernmental organisation

The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.

Major General Legge, Chairman of the Committee, noted that "there should be only one regulatory air authority for Australia, working under a single legislature." At a Premiers’ Conference in May 1920 the Australian Prime Minister W.M. Hughes's recommendation that "each State should refer to the Commonwealth the control of air navigation, but in a way as to reserve to the States the right to own and use aircraft for the purpose of government departments and the police powers of the State" was carried, and the Commonwealth passed the Air Navigation Act in the widest possible terms. [1]

James Gordon Legge Australian general

Lieutenant General James Gordon Legge was an Australian Army senior officer who served in the First World War and was the Chief of the General Staff, Australia's highest ranking army officer between 1914 and 1915 and again between 1917 and 1920. His son, Stanley Ferguson Legge, reached the rank of major general.

Billy Hughes Australian politician, seventh prime minister of Australia

William Morris Hughes, was an Australian politician who served as the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1915 to 1923. He is best known for leading the country during World War I, but his influence on national politics spanned several decades. Hughes was a member of federal parliament from Federation in 1901 until his death, the only person to have served for more than 50 years. He represented six political parties during his career, leading five, outlasting four, and being expelled from three.

The Air Navigation Act of 1920 was granted assent on 2 December 1920, gazetted on 11 February 1921, came into force on 28 March 1921 and became law on 28 June 1921. Regulations under the Act provided for the registration of aircraft, licensing of aerodromes, licensing of personnel, periodic inspection and maintenance of aircraft, and rules of the air. [1]

The Act in use

Aviation Security Act 1982
Covers offences against the safety of aircraft; Protection of aircraft, aerodromes and air navigation installations against acts of violence; Policing of airports; and Funding
Status: In force


The Aviation Security Act 1982 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom Parliament which covers offences against the safety of aircraft; protection of aircraft, aerodromes, and air navigation installations against acts of violence; policing of airports; and funding. [2]

In addition to murder and conspiracy, the defendants, at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, were accused of breaches of the 1982 Act.

List of Acts and adaptions





See also

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  2. Aviation Security Act 1982 (c. 36)
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