Mikolaj Ratajczyk / Regional Aviation Safety Organisations: Enhancing air transport safety through regional cooperation

Name: Mikolaj Ratajczyk
Organization: Leiden University, International Institute of Air and Space Law
Supervisor: Prof. dr. Pablo Mendes de Leon
Doctoral Committee: Prof. dr. N.M. Blokker; Prof. dr.mr. E.R. Muller; Prof. mr.dr.ir. S.C. Santema; Prof. dr. V. Correia; Dr. J. Huang; Dr. Niels van Antwerpen; Dr. J.J. Rijpma.
Email address: mikolaj.ratajczyk(at)ec.europa.eu; mikolaj_ratajczyk@poczta.onet.pl
Date of completion: November 2014

Abstract of thesis: Although commercial civil aviation is, in the aggregate, a very safe mode of transportation, actual safety levels are far from being uniform across the world, and there are concerns that, as air traffic and the complexity of the global air transport market grow, the rate of accidents may also start to increase. Accordingly, regional cooperation on aviation safety has visibly intensified since the beginning of the twenty-first century, as evidenced in particular by the establishment of a significant number of new regional aviation safety organisations (RASOs).

This study is a first comprehensive analysis, from a legal and institutional point of view, of how regional cooperation and more specifically RASOs contribute to the improvement of civil aviation safety and the achievement of the objective of ‘uniformity in regulations, standards, procedures, and organisation’ as formulated in Article 37 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). The research questions addressed are the following:

  • What should be the role of RASOs in global governance of civil aviation safety?
  • Can the optimal RASO model be identified from a legal point of view?
  • If yes, how can it best be defined and structured?
  • In which domains can RASOs yield maximum safety benefits, and under which legal conditions?
  • For which States are RASOs most relevant?
  • What is the expected future evolution of RASO type bodies?
  • Are there any shortcomings in the current international legal framework that pose an obstacle to further development of RASOs?
  • What are the international responsibility and civil liability implications resulting from RASO establishment and functioning?

The research draws on founding documents of RASOs, symposia and conferences on regional aviation cooperation, interviews with people involved in the establishment and running of RASOs, and reviews of relevant case law and legislation (international, EU, and national) and of legal literature. The author also proposes a practical methodology or ‘tool-box’ for the setting up of RASOs.

 The commercial edition is available from Kluwer Law International: www.kluwerlaw.com/Catalogue/titleinfo.htm

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