Safety of International Aviation

Under the terms of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (known as the Chicago Convention), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) establishes minimum international safety standards for all aspects of civil aviation activity. Responsibility for ensuring that those standards are met rests with the state in which the aircraft is registered and, if different, the state in which the airline is based. The civil aviation regulatory organisations of all states that are parties to the Chicago Convention are audited by ICAO to assess their implementation of these standards.

Within the UK, the Safety Regulation Group of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for the safety regulation of UK registered aircraft and UK based airlines. Neither the CAA nor the Department has regulatory responsibility for the safety of foreign aircraft and airlines. However, the Department takes a number of steps to ensure that airlines operating to the UK comply with international standards.

Before a permit is issued to a foreign airline to allow it to operate to the UK the Department checks that the airline has all the relevant approvals from the foreign government's regulatory authority and that certain other requirements are met. Where the Department has reason to believe that an airline or aircraft may not comply with international standards it can arrange for that airline's aircraft to be inspected by the CAA. Where the CAA finds a matter requiring attention it will be raised with the aircraft crew, airline and/or foreign authority as appropriate.