Let's say some country intends to introduce a new aviation policy that conflicts with ICAO regulations, like only aircraft certified and approved by our government can fly in our airspace. Can they do that unilaterally? Has it ever happened?

For instance, Russia may declare a country as enemy country and it may use its equipment (e.g reconnaissance aircraft) to spy on this enemy country. In this case enemy country may start defining its own policies and make sure that defense or civil aviation equipment/software are used in compliance with these new policies.

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    $\begingroup$ A sovereign country can introduce any laws it wants to, even if they're wildly impractical and/or annoy all their neighbours. I'm not sure what sort of answer you expect here. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 22, 2015 at 0:48

2 Answers 2


Aircrafts need to be certified to operate under FAA/European/Russian... regulations in terms of safety, noise, etc. For instance, in Europe EASA is the authority "for the airworthiness and environmental certification of all aeronautical products[..]".

Sometimes countries actually want to introduce new policies. One of the most famous was in 1971, when "The US, India, and Malaysia all ruled out Concorde supersonic flights over the noise concern[..]" as reported here on Wikipedia.

Another one about aircraft noise was in 1999, when "The EU's proposed noise ordinances effectively prevented the use of hush-kit outfitted aircraft in Europe[..]".

So every country already has its own regulation.

  • $\begingroup$ "EU" isn't a country. EU members are the therefore the exception to the rule; they're the only countries who legally can't have their own regulation. $\endgroup$
    – MSalters
    Sep 21, 2015 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ @MSalters: I'm not sure this is correct, EU member states have their own regulations (not specific to air regulations). Only a set of EU regulations are in effect in agreed domains. In addition EU directives must be implemented locally to have effect. A patent case is the about the labor regulation, which varies a lot between member states. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Sep 23, 2015 at 6:27
  • $\begingroup$ @mins: It would take more than 600 pages to explain EU rulemaking, so this is necessarily a summary, but the process differs from area to area. AIr traffic being by nature more international is an area in which the EU has more authority. Practically speaking, EASA rules do not require local adoption. $\endgroup$
    – MSalters
    Sep 23, 2015 at 6:51
  • $\begingroup$ @mins: That's part of why rulemaking in the EU is so complex; it goes in both directions. In some areas national governments delegate to the EU, in other areas the EU delegates to national states. Here the administration of small airports is delegated from the EU (who has authority) to France (who is more capable of handling details). $\endgroup$
    – MSalters
    Sep 23, 2015 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @MSalters Again, not correct: EU delegates nothing to member states, this is the other way. for transportation, which isn't an exclusive competence, EU can only rule if members are unable to achieve some action (see TEU title 1, art 5-3). EASA (actually the European Parliament) as indeed exclusive competences but only in some domains (e.g. safety), the rest (e.g. air operations) is a shared competence between the state and EASA, see this. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Sep 23, 2015 at 19:12

Technically, yes.

There are a number of national regulations barring specific aircraft, for example there are several African airlines that may not operate in Europe.

However, in general there is mutual agreement that other countries' certification agencies are equally capable of assuring the airworthiness of planes, so there is no safety issue here, and the remaining question for a bureaucracy is whether to burden oneself with extra paperwork.


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