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Why Legal Counsel For Airline Companies Is Important

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Legislation and compliance are inherent aspects of aviation. A pilot doesn't just need to know how to fly a plane. He or she also must understand their legal responsibilities regarding his or her aircraft, cargo and most importantly passengers and crew. Here are six reasons legal counsel is an important resource for airline companies.

1. Understanding Aviation Law

A large airline company will want to build a relationship with a team of aviation lawyers or an aviation law firm in order to stay updated on the legal landscape and have quick access to legal counsel if a situation calls for it. Whether your company hires or outsources its legal resources, counsel is as important a part of the aviation industry as it is in most other industries. Aviation lawyers will help you understand aviation law and take care of the day-to-day minutia of legal counsel, with tools such as legal automation software.

2. Regional and International Relations

By nature, air travel allows people and goods to reach destinations all over the world very quickly. As a result, regional and international policies are an incredibly important aspect of aviation law. Different countries and different regions within countries will have varying regulations for international statutes, aircraft registration and air traffic control, among other things. An international regulatory body called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) exists to help countries come to agreements regarding topics such as shared airspace. You should seek out aviation lawyers familiar with international aviation policies.

3. Compliance

Aviation law is an umbrella term covering all aspects of aviation from pilot licensing requirements to aircraft design and maintenance. It also covers international and domestic air travel both for passenger airlines and cargo shipping. If airline companies don't comply with extant aviation laws, they will put people and goods in danger. Your employees may not need to know all the details of these laws to do their jobs, but they do need to understand the basics and have resources available in case they do need to check details. Aviation lawyers can act as a check during workflows to ensure compliance with existing standards, policies and regulations.

4. Useful Cross-Industry Experience

Because understanding at least basic aviation law is an integral part of working in the airline industry, it's actually relatively common for aviation lawyers to have experience working directly in the industry, including roles as pilots or flight dispatchers. This cross-industry experience means aviation lawyers have a deep passion and an in-depth understanding of the industry and its regulations. Having a relationship with such legal representatives encourages other employees to deepen their understanding of aviation law and to ask your company's aviation lawyers questions and for advice.

5. Regulation

In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are the main regulatory bodies for aviation. To legally operate an airline, you must ensure your company operates within the regulations set by these administrations. All degrees, licenses and certificates must be issued in accordance with FAA guidelines. Additionally, the FAA, not congress, passes laws through the Federal Register as part of the Department of Transportation and sends everyone involved in the aviation industry regular updates on legislation and regulations. Legal counsel is essential to ensure you understand correspondence from the FAA and TSA.

6. Environmental Law

Environmental law and other emerging areas of focus are important in the modern aviation industry. If you're working on a development project for an airport or proposing legislation for increased safety or cleaner energy in the aviation industry, you must confer with legal counsel to ensure you're acting within legal bounds. As clean energy becomes more mainstream, environmental law will likely become an increasingly important aspect of aviation law.


As in any industry, there are many reasons for airline companies to build relationships with legal counsel. Aviation lawyers can help your company understand and adhere to legislation and regulation, keep up to date on emerging laws and debates and provide useful cross-industry experience.

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