Regional governance under State responsibility is an undeniable necessity in ensuring safety in air transport. However, since international air transport crosses boundaries and all regions of the world, a certain stringent global regulatory system is required, and this objective cannot be reached unless the safety oversight system is decentralized into safety agencies in each region. This is because although air transport is still considered the safest mode of travel, constant and diligent vigilance in ensuring the safety of aviation is required. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is the global forum for aviation, provides this guidance and direction and encourages States to form regional civil aviation bodies in regions where they do not exist. Since almost all regional civil aviation bodies have their own Constitutions, these Constitutions should recognize the need for increased cooperation with ICAO and ICAO should actively seek such an inclusion. Cooperation could include assignment of tasks related to oversight, accident investigation, sharing of information, and the conduct of training in collaboration with ICAO.
Some of the measures that are suggested in this article include the initiation by ICAO, where appropriate, of periodic meetings with regional civil aviation bodies and the setting up of panels that include members from ICAO and each regional body on a selective basis. These panels is could recommend and monitor issues of cooperation, including cooperation between the various regional organizations.
There is also the compelling need to define the role that regional organizations and regional civil aviation bodies would play in working closely with ICAO; and the adoption of a policy with regard to cooperation with regional organizations and regional civil aviation bodies. ICAO should also ascertain the role to be played by its regional offices in coordinating ICAO cooperation with such bodies. Consideration should be given to providing appropriate resources in regional offices where necessary.
This article discusses in some depth the various regional safety oversight organization (RSOO) agencies and examines the legal and regulatory basis of ICAO’s role with regard to the establishment and functions of RSOOs with reference to selected regional oversight organizations around the world.Air and Space Law