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National Character of Aircraft

The nationality of an aircraft is determined by the state in which the aircraft is registered. This principle was recognized by state practice soon after air flight proved feasible and was incorporated into the Convention on International Civil Aviation of December 7, 1944 (Chicago Convention). Applying the same concept of nationality to aircraft as is applied to maritime vessels provides a basis for a state to maintain jurisdiction over an aircraft while it is flying through international airspace and establishes the power of the state to regulate what happens on board the aircraft regardless of its location. Under the Chicago Convention, contracting states register aircraft according to their domestic laws. When it registers an aircraft, the state must also certify that the craft is airworthy and has appropriate markings identifying the nationality and registration of the aircraft.



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