Aviation laws are one of the least visited laws in India when it comes to
legal awareness. According to a statement issued by Union Civil Aviation
Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia on 18th April, 2022, India's daily domestic air
passenger traffic crossed the 4 lakh mark on Sunday - for the first time in the
last two years. Air Passenger Traffic is the crowd or the population who use
air travel and Air Traffic is the traffic created by aircrafts.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is the body which frames laws relating to
aviation and airlines. According to the Aircraft Act, 1934 and the Aircraft
Rules, 1937, The Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) enforces civil
air regulations, regulates air transport services, air safety and airworthiness
The Aviation industry faces a lot of disputes with regards to passenger
complaints and several issues relating to the staff of the airlines as well.
Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation proposed the draft Protection and
Enforcement of Interests in Aircraft Objects Bill, 2022. The Bill implements the
provisions of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and
Protocol on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment which was adopted at a
conference in Cape Town in 2001.
However, one of the major unanswered
questions remains in the field of dispute resolution. Alternative Dispute
Resolution is a convenient form of dispute redressal in the forum as compared to
litigation as it consumes less time and resources. The basic principles and
ideals of dispute redressal have been adopted from the Chicago Convention which
marks negotiation as the first step towards dispute resolution.
Prioritization strategy is one out of the various methods of conflict resolution
in aviation industry. The use of this method comes into play usually in cases of
air traffic where the use of a particular path is in dispute. The special
characteristic of this strategy is that it arrives at a decision after a study
entirely based on figures.
This is done by comparing the scores of the aircrafts
in conflict. The scores of each aircraft are specified based on situation of
that aircraft in airspace. In the process of application of the
prioritization strategy, the scores of the aircrafts are compared and the one
with the highest score is given priority over the other.
In conflict resolution process, the aircraft with a lower priority must change
its original flight path in order to prevent of occurring conflicts. This
shows that even if this is a hierarchy way of resolving conflicts, it is very
general and practical in nature.
The allotment of scores primarily determines
the aircraft to be prioritized depending which was at the least deviation from
the mainstream and the requisite path. Thus, this prioritization strategy seems
to be appropriate for dispute resolution because of its formulated manner of
analyzing situations and working our solutions as per the focus of the aircraft
on the path.
After analyzing various cases and situations, it has been found that alternative
dispute resolution methods do not always work out in aviation sector unless it
is a labor dispute specifically.
This is why the proposed model of
prioritization strategy seems pretty appropriate. It is useful for parties to
negotiate over a number of issues or resources, since they can try to create
value and maximize benefits by trade-offs between them. This is because the
order of priority among these issues for one party may differ from that of the
other and provide an opportunity for exchanges.
In negotiating on the basis
of interests, parties will need to :
- distinguish between positions and interests
- move from positions to interests
- list all the interests according to priority
- think of positions as only one of many solutions to the problem.
Even after such implementation of negotiation procedures, with the application
of the BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiating Agreement), the prioritization
strategy or any possible alternative which seems better than the one on the
negotiating table can be given effect to.
BATNA is a concept of strategic negotiation wherein the negotiator analyses what
alternative is available instead of the negotiated agreement so that the
negotiator can have an upper hand at the bidding table. More than law, BATNA is
a principle of corporate or business negotiations. The option of BATNA can be
taken up by the negotiating party when the terms of the negotiating agreement do
not work out. Identifying the BATNA and understanding its benefits is extremely
essential before entering into any form of negotiation.
One of the best examples of BATNA is Iberia's negotiations with Boeing where he
cracked an agreement with Boeing while keeping Airbus also through its prior
negotiations with resale price guarantees. Overall, it has become pertinent that
alternative dispute redressal methods turn out to be successful in the aviation
industry especially with regards to competition.
When it comes to the disputes
faced by the consumers, the Director General of Civil Aviation has issued
certain guidelines which aide in securing the rights of the consumers and the
Consumer Protection Act also covers this area to a major extent. Largely, it is
extremely essential to understand air traffic and laws relating to air traffic
considering the fact that the aviation industry contributes towards the nation's
revenue to a huge extent.
Dr Farrukh Khan
- Hojjat Emami and Kamyar Narimanifar, A Conflict Resolution Approach
using Prioritization Strategy, Journal of Information Systems and
- Yona Shamir, Alternative Dispute Resolution Approaches and Their
Application, Israel Center for Negotiation and Mediation (ICNM), UNESCO
available at http://webworld.unesco.org/water/wwap/pccp/cd/pdf/negotiation_mediation_facilitation/alternative_dispute_resolution_approaches.pdf
is an Advocate and Managing Partner of Law Firm- Diwan Advocates.