The Aircraft Act,1934
The primary function of the Aircraft Act, 1934 (hereinafter referred as the act) is to provide the
central government with the power to make rules which govern aircrafts. It grants the central
government the power to make rules which shall regulate the manufacture, sale, use, operation,
export or import, and safety of all civil aircrafts.
Some of the relevant rules (Aircraft rules, 1937) which provide detailed regulations which shall
be complied are-
1) Part XII-B and part XII-B -The inspection and control of the manufacture, repair and
maintenance of aircrafts and f places where aircrafts are kept, manufactured and repaired.
2) Part IV - The registration and making of Aircrafts
3) Part V and Part XII - The licensing of persons employed in Aircrafts operation, Manufacture,
repair or maintenance.
4) Part VI - Outlining a broad framework for airworthiness under which DGCA can operate.
The Aircraft Act also makes the DGCA as the principle administrative sole authority under the
Central Government. Pursuant to section 5A, the DGCA is empowered to:
Implementation of provisions of the Rules, various international conventions, and the aviation
policy of the Central Government;
Establishment of safety guidelines for the airworthiness of an aircraft, and registeration and
certifying of aircrafts pursuant to such guidelines;
Granting licenses to pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, and monitoring of flight crew; and
advise the Central Government on matters relating to civil aviation.
The DGCA is also head for issuing the Civil Aviation Requirements (“CAR”). While the broad
principles of law are mentioned in the Aircraft Act and Rules, CAR mentiones detailed
requirements and compliance procedures including those with relation to obligations India has
as a Contracting State under the Chicago Convention.63 By issuing CAR, the DGCA aims to create
a standard and harmonize the aviation requirements with the rules and regulations of other
regulatory authorities, and implementation and creation for recommendations of courts of
inquiry and other committees constituted by the Central Government to deal with aircraft safety
and operation. Non-compliance with CAR creates such penalties as fine up to Rs. 10 lakhs and/or
imprisonment for a period up to 2 years, as provided under Schedule VI of the Aircraft Rules,
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is the sole Ministry responsible for the formation of national
policies and programmes for development and regulation of Civil Aviation and for devising and
creating schemes for the proper growth and expansion of civil air transport. Its functions also
extend to overseeing airport facilities, air traffic services and carriage of passengers and goods by
air. It is solely held for the administration of the Aircraft Act, 1934, Aircraft Rules, 1937 and some
other legislations relating to the aviation sector in the country .
Short title and extent
As per section 1, the act extends to whole of India and applies to Indian citizens wherever they
are. Aircraft which is registered in India and the persons on it would also come under the ambit
of this act.
Aircraft which is not registered in India and people on it would also come under its ambit if for
the time it is in or over India.
If the Aircraft is operated by a non-Indian but his principal place of operation is India, then also
they would be covered by this act.
As per section 2, the following definitions have been given
1) Aircraft- any machine which can derive support in the atmosphere from reactions of the air,
[other than reactions of the air against the earth's surface] and includes balloons, whether fixed
or free, airships, kites, gliders and flying machines
2) Aerodrome - any definite or limited ground or water area intended to be used, either wholly
or in part, for the landing or departure of aircraft, and includes some buildings, sheds, vessels,
piers and other structures thereon or appertaining thereto
3) Aerodrome reference point- in relation to any aerodrome, means a designated point
established in the horizontal plane at or near the geometric centre of that part of the aerodrome
reserved for the departure or landing of aircraft
4) Import – Bringing into India
5) Export- Taking out of India
Power of Central Government to exempt certain aircraft.
As per section 3,the Central Government has the power to exempt or direct any aircraft from all
or any provisions of this act . For this, a notification has to be given in the official gazette.
Power of Central Government to make rules to implement the Convention of 1944
The central government has the power, subject to section 14, to make rules which shall be
necessary to implement the Convention relating to International Civil Aviation signed at Chicago
on the 7th day of December 1944.
Safety oversight functions-
The Director General of Civil Aviation or any other such officer who is empowered specialy in this
behalf by the Central Government then performs the safety oversight duties in relation of
matters specified in this Act or the rules made thereunder .
Power of Central Government to make rules-
As per section 5,
The central government has been granted the power to make rules which shall regulate the
manufacture, sale, use, operation, export or import, and safety of all civil aircrafts.
The rules may further provide for –
1) The authorities by which any of the powers conferred by or under this Act are to be exercised
2) The regulation of air transport services, and the prohibition of the use of aircraft in such
services except under the authority of and in accordance with a licence authorising the
establishment of the service
3) The economic regulation of civil aviation and air transport services, including the approval,
disapproval or revision of tariff of operators of air transport services; the officers or authorities
who shall exercise powers in this behalf; the process to be followed, and the factors to be taken
into consideration by such officers or authorities; appeals to the Central Government against
such orders of such officers or authorities and all other matters concerned with such tariff
4) The information to be furnished by an applicant for, or the holder of, a licenceauthorising the
establishment of an air transport service to such authorities as may be specified in the rules
5) The licensing, inspection and regulation of aerodromes, the conditions under which
aerodromes may be maintained, the prohibition or regulation of the use of unlicensed
6) the fees which may be charged at those aerodromes to which [the Airports Authority of India
Act, 1994] does not apply or is not made applicable
7) the inspection and control of the manufacture, repair and maintenance of aircraft and of
places where aircraft are being manufactured, repaired or kept;
8) the registration and marking of aircraft;
9) the conditions under which aircraft may be allowed to be flown, or may carry passengers,
mails or goods, or may be used for industrial purposes and the certificates, licences or
documents to be carried by aircraft;
10) the inspection of aircraft for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this Act and the rules
thereunder, and the facilities to be provided for such inspection;
11) the licensing of persons employed in the operation, manufacture, repair or maintenance of
12) the licensing of persons engaged in air traffic control;
13) the certification, inspection and regulation of communication, navigation and surveillance or
air traffic management facilities;
14) the measures to safeguard civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference
15) the air-routes by which and, the conditions under which aircraft may enter or leave j[India],
or may fly over j[India], and the places at which aircraft shall land
16) the prohibition of flight by aircraft over any specified area, either absolutely or at specified
times, or subject to specified conditions and exceptions
17) the supply, supervisory and control of air-route beacons, aerodrome lights, and lights at or in
the neighbourhood of aerodromes or on or in the neighbourhood of air- routes
18) the installation and maintenance of lights on private property in the neighbourhood of
aerodromes or on or in the neighbourhood of air- routes, by the owners or occupiers of such
properties and the payment by the Central Government for such installation and maintenance,
and the supervision and control of such installation and maintenance, including the right of
access to the property for such purposes
19) the signals to be used for purposes of communication by or to aircraft and the apparatus to
be employed in signalling
20) the prohibition and regulation of the carriage in aircraft of any specified article or substance
21) the measures to be taken and the equipment to be carried for the purpose of ensuring the
safety of life
22) the issue and maintenance of log-books
23) the manner and conditions of the issue or renewal of any licence or certificate under the Act
or the rules, the examinations and tests to be undergone in connection here, the form, custody,
production, endorsement, cancellation, suspension or surrender of such licence or certificate, or
of any log-book
24) the fees that must be charged in relation with any inspection, examination, test, certificate
or licence, made, issued or renewed under this Act
25) the recognition for the purposes of this Act of licences and certificates issued elsewhere than
in h[India] relating to aircraft or to the qualifications of persons employed in the operation,
manufacture, repair or maintenance of aircraft
26) the prohibition of slaughtering and flaying of animals and of depositing rubbish, filth and
other polluted and obnoxious matter within a radius of ten kilometers form the aerodrome
27) any matter subsidiary or incidental to the matters referred to in this sub-section.
Power to issue directions
As per section 5A
The DGCA can issue directions where it is satisfied that in the interests of the security of India or
for securing the safety of aircraft operations it is necessary so to do.
Every direction shall be followed by the concerned to whom it has been issued.
Power of Central Government to make orders in emergency
The central government has the power to make rules which might be necessary for the
functioning of an investigation.
Power to detain aircraft
As per section 8
An authority which has been authorised by the central government may detain the aircraft if in
their opinion it is felt that the flight would involve danger to the citizens or property. Also, it can
be detained if it is felt that it is necessary to secure compliance with provisions of this act.
Power of Central Government to make rules for protecting the public health
As per section 8A
The central government has the power to make rules for preventing the danger to public by
introduction or spread of a contagious disease.
Emergency powers for protecting the public health
As per section 8B,
Power has been given to the central government to take all necessary action in order to prevent
danger in case of outbreak of a disease or infection.
The government can make temporary rules which shall not remain in power for more than three
months unless further period is granted.
Power of Central Government to make rules for securing safe custody and re-delivery of
As per section 8C,
The central government has the power to make rules for the safe custody of any property which
belongs to any aircraft or any aerodrome.
The payment has to be paid in such property before it is re delivered.
If the property has not been redelivered, then upon the expiration of period, it shall be disposed
Wreck and Salvage
As per section 9,
The provision under Merchant shipping act shall apply and the owner of the aircraft shall be
entitled a reasonable award for the salvage services offered by him.
Power of Central Government to prohibit or regulate construction of buildings, planting of
As per section 9A,
The central government has the power to take the following action for the sake of safety of
1) direct the construction or plantation of a tree, within twenty kilometers from the aerodrome
reference point. Further, an order for demolition can also be issued.
2) provide for a particular height beyond which no building be built.
Payment of compensation
As per section 9B,
If someone experiences a loss under carrying out the operation of 9A, the central government
shall make a compensation to the sufferer.
The compensation can be decided via an agreement or if in case the parties cannot decide on an
agreement, then the government may appoint an arbitrator for it.
The person nominated shall have sufficient knowledge and experience as to the nature of loss
Both the parties, at the beginning of arbitration shall put forward their expected
compensation.The arbitrator shall also state the cost incurred in proceeding and which parties
are bound to pay it.
Appeals from awards in respect of compensation
It has been stated in section 9C that the party who is not satisfied by the decision shall go for an
appeal to the High Court.
Appeals from awards in respect of compensation
The following are the powers given to the arbitrator, who has a power equivalent to the civil
(a) summons and enforcement the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
(b) requiring of the discovery and production of any document;
(c) reception of evidence on affidavits;
(d) requisitioning any public record from any court or office;
(e) issuance of commissions for examination of witnesses.
Penalty for act in contravention of rule made under this Act.
Section 10 states that if any persons contravenes the provisions of section 5, or gives false
information when required to do so shall be punished for a term which may extend upto a period
of two years and shall also be liable to fine.
Penalty for flying so as to cause danger
Section 11 states that whoever wilfully flies any aircraft in such a manner as to cause danger to
any person or to any property on land or water or in the air shall be punishable with
Penalty for failure to comply with directions issued under section 5A
Section 11A states that
If any person wilfully fails to comply with any direction issued under section 5A, he shall be
punishable with imprisonment or fine
Penalty for failure to comply with directions issued under section 9A
Section 11B states that
It makes mandatory for a person to comply with directions contained in the notification given
The central government also has the power to demolish the building by authorising a competent