The right of the overflown state to divert or intercept civil aircraft under a bomb threat: An analysis with regard to Ryanair flight 4978

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to discuss whether a state has a right to divert or intercept a foreign civil aircraft flying above its territory, when the aircraft is under a bomb threat. The analysis stems from the recent incident where a Ryanair passenger jet was diverted to Minsk while flying in Belarusian airspace; however, the article approaches the topic from a general perspective, analyzing the key applicable rules of international aviation safety and security law. The article argues that air sovereignty and national rules on aviation (the latter wherever such exist) provide states acting in good faith the right to divert or intercept foreign aircraft for security reasons. Meanwhile, Article 3 bis of the Chicago Convention does not recognize such a right. The right is also limited by international rules that oblige every state to assist aircraft in distress, as well as rules that emphasize the authority and responsibility of the pilot-in-command. Since mid-air interventions are so rare, the legality of states’ actions must be analyzed case-by-case. Regardless, the legal regime of international aviation does not allow states to respond to security threats in whatever way they please, especially if the threat is a mere pretext for politically motivated action.
Translated title of the contributionYlilentovaltion oikeus puuttua pommiuhan kohteena olevan siviili-ilma-aluksen lentoon: Analyysi Ryanairin lennon 4978 näkökulmasta
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-306
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Transportation Security
Volume14
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2021
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • aviation
  • civil aviation
  • aviation law
  • security
  • safety
  • aviation safety
  • Belarus
  • Ryanir
  • Aviation safety
  • Aviation security
  • Chicago convention
  • ICAO
  • Aviation law
  • Air law
  • Bomb threat
  • Interception

Field of science

  • Law

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