The Maldivian Constitution provides that any international treaty to which the Maldives becomes a party will be enforced only on Parliament's approval and in accordance with any conditions of such approval.(1) The Constitution further stipulates that Maldivian citizens will become compelled to act on such treaties only in accordance with the law enacted by Parliament.(2)

Civil Aviation Act

The Civil Aviation Act (2/2001) governs civil aviation matters, including:

  • the registration and operation of civil aircraft in the Maldives;
  • the development and use of civil aerodromes;
  • other matters relating to civil aircraft and aerodromes; and
  • the safety of civil aviation in the Maldives.

The act obliges the Civil Aviation Authority to:

  • issue regulations that align with the international conventions to which the Maldives is a party; and
  • carry out all necessary actions in pursuance of such international conventions.

Pursuant to Section 2 of the Civil Aviation Authority Act and Section 25 of the Civil Aviation Act, the Civil Aviation Authority is entrusted to regulate all matters in relation to compliance with the international civil aviation conventions to which the Maldives is a party. Accordingly, the Civil Aviation Authority has enacted the Civil Aviation Regulations, Air Safety Circulars, Air Transport Regulations and Air Transport Circulars in order to implement the international civil aviation conventions to which the Maldives is a party.

Aviation conventions

The following conventions have been ratified in the Maldives:

  • The Maldives ratified the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention 1944) on 12 March 1974. As a contracting state of the Chicago Convention, the Maldives has the right (among others) to fly into and across other contracting states.
  • The Maldives ratified the Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft (the Geneva Convention 1948) on 5 September 1995. The Geneva Convention introduced the concept of recognition of rights in aircraft, including rights:
    • of property in aircraft;
    • to recognise mortgages; and
    • to recognise hypothecation.

In the Maldives, such rights are recorded in the Civil Aircraft Registry.

  • The Maldives ratified the Convention on Damage Caused by Foreign Aircraft to Third Parties on the Surface (the Rome Convention 1952) on 5 September 1995. The Rome Convention unifies, to the greatest extent possible, the rules applying in various countries on compensation for persons who suffer damage caused on the surface by foreign aircraft.
  • The Maldives ratified the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air (the Warsaw Convention 1929) on 13 October 1995. The Warsaw Convention governs air carrier liability for death, wounding and other bodily injuries suffered by passengers if the accident which caused the damage took place:
    • on board the aircraft; or
    • in the course of embarking or disembarking.
  • The Maldives ratified the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air on 31 October 2005 and has widely replaced the application of Warsaw Convention in cases of international air carrier liability.
  • The Maldives ratified the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (the Hague Convention 1970) on 1 September 1987. Being a party to the Hague Convention, the Maldives must take necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction over offences and any other acts of violence against passengers or crew committed by an alleged offender when:
    • the offence is committed on board an aircraft registered in the Maldives;
    • the aircraft on which the offence is committed lands in the Maldives with the alleged offender still on board; and
    • the offence is committed on board the aircraft leased without crew to a lessee who has their principle place of business and permanent residence in the Maldives.
  • On 1 September 1987, the Maldives ratified the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation (the Montreal Convention 1971). The convention governs acts against the safety of civil aviation, which jeopardises the safety of persons and property that seriously affects the operation of air services and undermines the peoples' confidence of the world in the safety of civil aviation.
  • On 28 September 1987 the Maldives ratified the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (the Tokyo Convention 1963), which was the first international convention on aviation security. The convention applies to offences against penal laws and acts which, regardless of whether they are offences, may or do:
    • jeopardise the safety of aircraft or of persons or property therein; or
    • jeopardise good order and discipline on board.

The Tokyo Convention:

  • established criminal jurisdiction of the state of registry of the aircraft;
  • gave important powers to the aircraft commander; and
  • defined states' responsibilities after an incident covered under the convention occurs.
  • The Maldives ratified the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection (the Montreal Convention 1971) on 22 March 1999. The convention requires each state party to prohibit and prevent:
    • the manufacturing of unmarked plastic explosives in its territory; and
    • the movement into or out of its territory of unmarked explosives and to exercise strict and effective control over the possession of any existing stocks of unmarked explosives.

Comment

In addition, certain protocols and additional articles have also been ratified by the Maldives, including:

  • Article 50(a) of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ratified in the Maldives on 31 January 1975);
  • Article 83bis of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ratified in the Maldives on 30 October 1997);
  • Article 3bis of the Convention on International Civil Aviation(ratified in the Maldives on 8 April 1997);
  • Article 56 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation(ratified in the Maldives on 8 April 1997);
  • Article 50(a) of the Convention on International Civil Aviation(ratified in the Maldives on 8 April 1997);
  • the Protocol of Amendment ((Final Paragraph), Arabic Text) of the Convention on Civil Aviation (ratified in the Maldives on 8 April 1997);
  • the Montreal Supplementary Protocol of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation (ratified in the Maldives on 22 March 1999);
  • the Protocol to Amend the Warsaw Convention of 1929 (ratified in the Maldives on 13 October 1995); and
  • the Protocol on the Authentic Quinquelingual Text of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ratified in the Maldives on 10 March 1997).

There is no public information on the ratification of any other civil aviation-related conventions by the Maldives in the near future. However, there have been talks about implementing passenger rights legislation to govern the rights of domestic air passengers.

For further information on this topic please contact Ahmed Murad at Mazlan & Murad Law Associates by telephone (+960 3 344 720) or email (murad@mmlawassociates.com). The Mazlan & Murad Law Associates website can be accessed at www.mmlawassociates.com.

Endnotes

(1) Article 93(a) of the Constitution.

(2) Article 93(b) of the Constitution.

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