Legal Aspects of the Introduction of GNSS

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Legal Aspects of the Introduction of GNSS

36TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Taipei, Taiwan, 17-21 March 1997

WP No. 157

Legal Aspects of the Introduction of GNSS


IFATCA participants in the ICAO GNSS panel were confronted with a number of legal issues; since the items under discussion were outside of their area of expertise (and were furthermore moved from the GNSS panel into the ICAO legal committee), they asked SC7 input.


There is nothing under the Chicago Convention or its annexes that prevents the provision of Air Traffic Services, or any activity related to them, by an international body (be it a single country, a supranational an international agency, or group of countries): therefore there are no legal obstacles either to the possibility of the provision of a supranational service by a single country or the provision by a supranational body or agency of a national service.

The fact the such situations may result in dependence of a nation on external bodies for the provision of a service, is a political option that IFATCA’s constitution does not allow us to challenge.

It, it is the case that such a service is provided by contract, the only way to counter or circumvent such inconvenience will be through the terms of the contract itself.

The contracting process adopted is that ICAO itself will be one of the contracting parties, on behalf of the states that have signed the Chicago Convention, the other contracting parties being the service providers, that is USA and Russia. Under this option all items dealing with service provision or certification are beyond doubt, institutional issues can only be addressed by the contracting parties.

The contracts, as drawn by ICAO’s legal Committee will have then to be approved, following the procedures established in ICAO’s constitution.


As a result, it seems that there are only two ways for ATCOs to make sure that important features such as safety management regulations, back up systems or continuity of service provision will be part of the contract. One possible way would be to enquire directly to ICAO’s Legal Committee regarding these items. Here, however, there is a possibility that the Committee would refuse to answer anybody other than a contacting state, and answer that does not solve our problems, but that is legally correct. The other and possibly better way will be by calling the attention of their national administrations to such items, and their vital importance for the system’s integrity.


That this paper be accepted as information material.

Last Update: September 28, 2020  

March 5, 2020   515   Jean-Francois Lepage    1997    

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