Airline Governing Bodies

by Female Abroad

When it comes to flying, lots of people know the airlines but do you know who is behind the airlines? As a standard traveller it is more information than you need to know but if you are interested in the airline industry or getting into travel then it is handy to have an idea as to what is what. To make this as simple as possible I'm just going to break it down into three main parts.


When flying started to become more popular (after WWII) government agencies started to realize that there needed to be some stability so they ended up creating a few very important legislation which would evolve into what we know today. Those items were:

  1. The Chicago Convention (1944): meeting led to the regulation of international air transport

  2. ICAO - International Civil Aviation Organization (1947) It became UN’s specialized agency governs relation between countries on both technical and commercial subjects. It established standards and practices directed towards facilitating international air navigation.

  3. Warsaw Convention (1929): governs the liability of airlines for death or injury to the passenger and for loss, damage or delay to baggage and cargo


While most people don't hear about those items anymore, the big player in the industry is IATA which is the International Air Transport Association who was founded in 1945 for three main reason:

  1. To promote safe, regular and economical air transport
  2. To provide a means of collaboration among enterprises directly or indirectly involved in international air transport service
  3. To cooperate with the ICAO and other international organizations

To achieve these three goals IATA works with airlines to resolve problems / find solutions, with governments to develop industry working standards, and lastly, with the public to simplify the travelling processes. While not every airline is part of IATA the majority of the world's carriers are and those that are part of it have to have an IATA Standard Traffic Document which lists the IATA General Conditions of Carriage (for passengers and baggage) and the Warsaw Convention.


Besides IATA, a lot of countries also have their own governing regulatory bodies that work with IATA to ensure that their airlines are up to par but also that any changes / rules that IATA is putting into place also work for that country. This is the government part of IATA. In Canada we have a couple of bodies:

  1. Transport Canada: a federal agency responsible for most transportation policies and programs to ensure that the national transportation system is safe
  2. Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA): a quasi-judicial tribunal which protects the interests of consumers and carriers, managing licensing system and air tariffs

When it comes to the USA, they have:

  1. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): part of the Department of Transportation. The main purpose is to ensure civil aviation safety and promote the commercial aviation in the United States

There is a lot greater detail that we can get into on this subject but this is just the Cole's note version. If you have more questions on the subject just drop us a line and we will be more than happy to answer / point in the direction of answers. Make sure to check out my other articles to learn more about the industry as a lot of them weave together.