New Structure for Air Regulation to be Established

Julio López Quiroga, Isabel Meca Gavilá.

05/03/2008 International Law Office


A new system for the management of the Spanish air regulation authority will be established pursuant to the provisions of Royal Decree 184/2008 of February 8 2008. It will be based on the division of duties currently performed by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, which will share this role with the newly created Air Safety Agency. Once incorporated, the agency will take over various duties from the directorate.

The agency will be incorporated as a public body assigned to the Ministry of Public Works. It must be incorporated prior to June 2008. Therefore, the new system must be implemented in the coming months.

The agency has been created in accordance with the special provisions contained in Law 28/2006 of July 18 2006 on State Agencies for the Improvement of Public Services. This law allows the government to create a special agency to perform regulatory duties and to supervise and inspect the air-transport and navigation systems, as well as managing airport security for the inspection and control of aviation products, air traffic activities and aviation personnel. Other duties include the detection, analysis and evaluation of the safety risks involved in air transport.

The decree provides that the agency has the following duties:

  • issuing, renewing, accrediting and revoking authorizations, permits and licences required for the performance of civil aviation activities (eg, exploitation licences, air operator certificates, crew licences, airworthiness certifications);
  • managing the Administrative Aircraft Registry;
  • conducting inspections and imposing penalties related to civil aviation;
  • protecting air transport users; and
  • approving proposals for new regulations on air safety to be submitted to the ministry’s competent bodies.

According to the new regulations, the directorate will reduce its duties as it will be primarily responsible for:

  • enforcing aviation circular letters;
  • drafting proposals and policies on civil aviation matters;
  • representing and coordinating matters relating to air transport policies with other public authorities and the European Union;
  • negotiating bilateral treaties with other nations and establishing traffic rights based on those treaties;
  • providing information on the establishment and opening of civil aviation airports; and
  • representing the ministry in civil aviation matters at an international level.

Finally, the new system encourages close coordination between civil and military authorities in the context of air safety, based on the legislation in force and the mechanisms available.