By Vivek Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, February 23, 2018: Tourism at all times was based on transportation. It was on horse’s back, elephant back, camel’s back at one time. Steamship, railways and motor vehicles gave big push to tourism in the 19th and early twentieth century. Air transportation brought transcontinental tourism.


One can trace the concept of human beings trying to fly to the ancient times, mythology and legends. The Greek sculpture imprisoned with his son in an island prepared his son to escape by making wing out of his hands with wax and warned him not go close to the sun as wax would melt in heat. He escaped from the jail but went too close to sun as a result the wax melted and he fell into the sea. In the Ramayana there is mention about Pushpaka Vimana used by Ravana when he abducted Sita. After Ramachandra defeated vanquished Ravana and freed Sita, he returned to Ayodhya with victory by Pushpaka Vimana (as Prize of the War in the modern sense). Bharadwaj in his famous treatise Yantra Samsta described flying machine carrying people from one part of the world to other and he also described spacecraft moving planet to planet.

In the modern times the famous Leonardo da Vinci drew a picture of flying transport vehicle like aero plane.


Flying in the sky by human being began with balloon in the middle of nineties of 18th century. First to fly on a balloon was a woman. Crossing of the English channel by human being became a great event towards later part of 18th century. Balloon was put to use for war purposes by Napoleon. When he defeated the Austrians in Austerlitz which was the turning point of the European history, he had used the balloon to assess the troop movement of enemies. During the Franco-Prussian war when Paris was under siege, the balloon was used to know what was the condition of Paris and morale of its citizens.


Use of dirigible to carry passengers became a practice in the 19th century by use of helium and hydrogen. Zeppelin, a dirigible, operated in the first part of the 20th century. Even after modern aircraft was deployed, Zeppelin operated carrying passengers including flying over the Atlantic Ocean right up to mid-thirties of 20th century. The accident of Zeppelin named Hindenburg at New Jersey discontinued its operations.


Aircraft was the gift of Write Brothers of America. Even before that attempt had been made to design powered flying machine by a Brazilian of the French origin by the name Santo Domingo and the Romanians claimed that they had produced first aircraft. The government of Romania had hoisted that flying machine in the new building ICAO near the atrium.

Aircraft was used quite extensively during the First World War as a weapon of destruction. The German air chief Goehring of the Nazi regime came to fame because of his flying skill during air battle. By the time First World War ended and peace was established aircraft operation had become quite regular for carrying mail, cargo and passengers. Since cross-border movement increased it was felt that common standards of safety, communication and navigation will have to be developed.



Commission International Navigation Aerienne (CINA) or International Air Navigation was created as an associate organization of the League of Nations under the Paris Convention. A significant development took place when the countries agreed to produce a multilateral convention on payment of compensation to passengers in the event of accident causing death, injury or other losses. It was called Warsaw Convention of 1928,a piece of private international law.


During the interwar period a body of legal experts and jurists (CITEJA) were given the drafting of private international law on aviation. With the outbreak of second world war, the League of Nations collapsed so did CINA as a result work relating development of standards remained suspended.


With the close of the second world war by which time strength and importance of aviation had grown multifold, President Roosevelt of USA realising that aviation can be harnessed to use for carrying passengers, cargo, mail, and thus can be used in growth of trade, business and commerce, he called a Conference of countries at Chicago to carve a multilateral treaty which was called International Convention on Civil Aviation ,popularly called Chicago Convention. This Convention laid out the fundamental principle and rules relating to international civil aviation. Difference between civil aviation and military/state aviation was carved out. It adumbrated sovereignty of nation over its airspace. The member States were vested with certain obligations.


It established an organization called International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) an intergovernmental organization which preceded even the United Nations. The task was assigned to it to develop standards and recommended practices (SARPS) for licensing of aviation personnel like pilots, navigators, radio operators, aircraft engineers and air traffic controllers etc., rules of air, aircraft operations, air meteorology, airworthiness, units of measurement, aviation charts, accident investigation, communication, search and rescue, air navigation, airports, aviation security, environment relating to noise level and air pollution and carriage of dangerous goods etc. These are called Annexes (1 to 19). This organization has also developed Procedures of Air Navigation (PANS), Supplementary Procedures (SUPPS) and Regional Procedures. In addition it has issued Manuals, Circulars, Digests and Statistics.

International commercial aviation grows based on bilateral air services agreements which are required to be registered with ICAO. Freedom in air is determined by such air services agreements .In addition to International Air Services Transit Agreement (IASTA),a multilateral treaty , gives right to overfly and stop for non-traffic purposes. Five Freedom Agreements did not get universal ratification and therefor bilateral agreements give traffic rights. Freedoms in air ranged from first freedom to fifth freedom. Now they include sixth to tenth freedom. Open sky policy has worked out among group of nations. Brexit may give rise problem in Europe.


By this time the world had moved from piston engine aircraft to propeller driven aircraft, from single engine to twin engine to three engine and four engine aircraft. Helicopter, a rotary wing aircraft being different from fixed wing aircraft had been invented and used in hilly terrain and inaccessible areas. The Russian aeronautical genius, Sikorsky had designed four engine aircraft even during the Czarist regime. He also developed helicopter. With Communist revolution, he moved to USA. He had received Edward Warner Award for outstanding contribution to international civil aviation as an American citizen.

The world also saw turbine driven aircraft called turbo-prop. Meanwhile jet engine had entered the aviation. Narrow body aircraft were overtaken by wide body aircraft. Supersonic aircraft also entered the global civil aviation.

Boeing company manufactured narrow bodied B707 (four engine) and later produced B727 (three engine aircraft), B737 (two engine aircraft), B747 (four engine aircraft with upper deck), B757, B767, B777, B787 (Dreamliner).

Airbus, a company in which UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy had technical and financial business interest produced A300, A310, A320, A330, A340, A350, A380.

During the Soviet days there were production of aircraft like TUPOLOV, ANTONOV and ILYUSIN. They have also produced supersonic aircraft. Air India had taken IL 76 for cargo operation on wet lease basis.AN204 used to fly to India

BRAZIL produces through its company EMBRAER produces passenger aircraft. SWEDEN produces SAAB.

CANADA has aircraft manufacturing by the name BOMBARDIER which has regional jets and also executive jets. The Anglo-French cooperation produced Concorde, a supersonic aircraft. After many years of operation it was withdrawn after a crash at Paris airport.

Air navigation has moved from terrestrial system like NDB, VOR, DME, RADAR, both primary and secondary, to satellite navigation which has come through CNS/ATM system. All these developments with Collision Avoidance System has improved safety standard of aviation.


ICAO plays a role in developing international conventions on aviation security against unlawful interference like hijacking, illegal seizure of aircraft, attack on airports and payment compensation on accidents.

Warsaw Convention was modified by The Hague Protocol, Guatemala City Protocol, Guadalajara Convention and finally a comprehensive Montreal Convention. In addition it developed a Convention on Mobile equipment called Cape Town Convention in order to facilitate international banking and financial institutions to take a charge over aircraft for financing acquisition of aircraft.


ICAO based on the Assembly Resolution and individual MOU signed by each State with ICAO conducts Universal Oversight Audit conducts for safety and security. A country not following international standards on safety and security prescribed by ICAO as revealed during must rectify defects within a stipulated period. Otherwise the foreign airlines would not operate to those countries and their airlines will not be allowed to foreign countries.


There has been phenomenal growth of international civil aviation in the seventy years. Regulatory authorities like ICAO, development of technology and rising middle class have contributed to this growth. Standard setting intergovernmental body has given scope for safe, secured and seamless travel. Technology has brought greater safety to travel by air. Rise of middle class has propelled aviation growth through tourism. Baby boomers after their retirement have given fillip to tourism through civil aviation. With better medical coverage the senior citizens who constitute aging population are willing to travel for leisure and relaxation by air to distant places.


Drones are used today for delivery of cargo. Time will come when human beings will be carried. Effort is being to reintroduce dirigible. Zeppelin may reappear in the sky. Supersonic aircraft is being considered for a comeback. Hypersonic aircraft are already on the drawing board. Sub-orbital flights are distinct possibility in near future. Fossil fuel is being replaced by ethanol. Solar powered aircraft has already made circum navigation.

Open sky was advocated by USA in the early nineties of the last century. It was part of the philosophy of the new world order after collapse Soviet system. There is now wind of change in USA. America for Americans is the slogan. Buy American and hire American is call of the day. Protectionism has reappeared not only in USA but elsewhere also. Global political situation is unpredictable with ISIS is down but not out. Conflicts in Middle East have not abated. Taliban is growing its ugly head. There is tension South China Sea. All these developments along with cross-border terrorism and tension on the LOC will impact the economy and also international aviation.

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