NATURE AND CONTENT OF AIR SERVICE AGREEMENTS
An Air Service Agreement comprises various clauses and provisions that govern the terms and conditions of international air travel across two or more countries. Owing to the importance of this agreement and the peculiarities of individual countries, the content of an air service agreement might vary on a couple of factors, most especially the preferences of parties and their territories. Nonetheless, there are common elements typical of most air service agreements and some will be discussed below:
1. Route Designation: A typical Air Service agreement specifies the acceptable routes that airlines from each country are authorized to operate between. This provision might be extended to include the description of the route and even specific airports.
2. Tariffs and Pricing: This is an important provision to be contained in the agreement to prevent conflict, unhealthy competition or predatory pricing practices. Provisions related to pricing, fares, charges, and the currency in which payments will be made are covered under tariff and pricing and should be clearly stated.
3. Capacity and Frequency: This is often provided for in a typical air service agreement. It includes the number of flights and the passenger and cargo capacity that airlines are permitted to operate on the designated routes.
4. Safety and Security: An Air Service Agreement may contain safety standard provisions that emphasize compliance with international aviation safety and security regulations.
5. Customs and Immigration: Provisions related to customs and immigration procedures for passengers and cargo such as handling of transit passengers and cargo might be included.
6. Designation of Airlines: The agreement may specify what airlines can operate within which designated routes. The import of this provision is that it regulates the number of airlines serving a designated route.
7. Dispute Resolution: This is a very important provision for air service agreements. It clearly states dispute resolution measures between the party countries or airlines, inclusive of negotiation or arbitration, depending on the choice of the parties.
8. Registration of Aircraft: The agreement may include the registration requirements for aircraft used on routes covered by the agreement.
9. Environmental and Regulatory Compliance: This is in line with the relevant laws and regulations.
10. Fair Competition: The agreement may include provisions that guide against anti-competitive practices and predatory behaviour.
11. Termination and Amendments: The agreement may state conditions under which the agreement is to be terminated or amended including the procedures for doing so.
This agreement includes provisions on currency conversion, taxation, damages, and any other matters that might hamper the smooth running of international air services.