国际航空运输协会（下称「国际航空运输协会」）为航空业提供重要的国际自我监管架构。国际航空运输协会于一九四五年成立，拥有大约270 个成员，几乎囊括全球所有主要航空公司。该协会监管成员的运载量占国际全部定期航空交通的98% 以上。 国际航空运输协会的主要功能包括：
在国际航空运输协会的主持下，航空公司已经签订对《华沙公约》订明旅客受伤或死亡责任限制作进一步修改的协议。根据《国际航空运输协会承运人之间关于旅客责任的协议》，签约航空公司同意放弃《华沙公约》规定的可收回补偿损失的责任限制，使可收回补偿损失可以按旅客定居国家的法律来确定及赔偿。多数国际航空运输协会的成员亦已签署《国际航空运输协会关于实施承运人之间协议的措施的协议》，根据该协议，签约航空公司已同意受伤旅客或遇难旅客的受扶养者最高可领取高达100,000 个特别提款权（「特别提款权」）。 特别提款权为国际货币基金设立的人工货币单位，截至二零零四年六月三十日止100,000 个特别提款权相等于约146,600 美元。
THE INTERNATIONAL REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL AIR TRANSPORT
International commercial air transport is regulated by international conventions that each participating country undertakes to ratify and directly apply within its national air space. The principal international conventions are the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air of 1929 (the "Warsaw Convention"), the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944 (the "Chicago Convention"), and the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air of 1999 (the "Montreal Convention").
The Warsaw Convention and the Hague Protocol, and the Montreal Convention
The Warsaw Convention, which was later modified by the Protocol to Amend the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air of 1929 (the "Hague Protocol"), established the principle of limited liability of air transport companies based on a presumption of fault. The financial limits on liability set out in the Warsaw Convention may be exceeded only if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or omission of the carrier done (1) with intent to cause damage or (2) recklessly and with knowledge that damage would probablyresult. China is a party to the Warsaw Convention.
The Montreal Convention changed the airline accident liability system established by the Warsaw Convention. It changed the low liability limits and modernised and clarified other aspects of the international airline accident liability system. China is currently not a party to the Montreal Convention.
The Chicago Convention
The Chicago Convention sets out the legal and technical principles governing international commercial aviation. In addition, the Chicago Convention subjects participant states, which include substantially all the member states of the United Nations, to a common legal framework governing international air transport that participant states are required to implement in their respective national air space and apply in their relations with each another. The Chicago Convention established the general principle that each state has sovereignty over its air space and has the right to control the operation of scheduled international air services over or into its territory.
The Chicago Convention permits non-scheduled flights, both charter and cargo, to fly over the territories of participant states and gives rights for non-scheduled flights to make stops for nontraffic purposes in the territories of such states, subject to certain restrictions which may be imposed by the individual states. China is a party to the Chicago Convention.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation ("ICAO") was established based on the Chicago Convention and in 1947 became the aviation division of the United Nations. Within the framework of the ICAO, participant states establish the international technical regulations applicable to civil aviation.
International Air Transportation Association
The International Air Transportation Association ("IATA") provides an important international self-regulatory framework for the airline industry. Established in 1945, IATA has approximately 270 members, including almost every major airline in the world, and its members 58 generate more than 98% of all international scheduled air traffic. The main functions of IATA include:
＊ establishing regulations for certain aspects of the airline industry;
＊ setting tariff for international passenger and cargo services;
＊ settling payments among IATA members or between IATA members and non-members;
＊ licensing of travel agents;
＊ improving technological co-operation among IATA members; and
＊ improving the performance and efficiency of airports.
Under the auspices of IATA, airlines have entered into agreements that have modified the limits of liability for injured or deceased passengers established by the Warsaw Convention.
Pursuant to the IATA Intercarrier Agreement on Passenger Liability, signatory airlines agreed to waive the limitation of liability on recoverable compensatory damages under the Warsaw Convention to enable recoverable compensatory damages to be determined and awarded by reference to the law of the domicile of the passenger. Many IATA members have also entered into the Agreement on Measures to Implement the IATA Intercarrier Agreement pursuant to which signatory airlines have agreed that injured passengers or dependants of deceased passengers can receive up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (‘‘SDR’’). SDR is an artificial currency unit created by the International Monetary Fund and 100,000 SDR represents an equivalent of approximately US$146,600 as of June 30, 2004.
Allocation of Slots
Access to many of the world’s major international airports is regulated by the allotment of
time slots. Slots correspond to the ability of an airline to land at, or take-off from, an airport at a specified time and date. Access to most European and Asian airports is regulated through slots. In the United States, access to airports is controlled by regulations based on the allotment of boarding gates with the exception of New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and Chicago's O’Hare airport, to which access is regulated by slots. As a general rule, a slot that has been operated by an airline entitles that airline to claim the same slot in the next equivalent scheduling period (often referred to as "grandfather rights").
Bilateral Air Services Agreements
International air transport requires transport rights (a concept known as "traffic rights" or "route rights") which one state may acquire by applying for another state's transport rights by entering into bilateral air transport agreements, also frequently referred to as air services agreements. Bilateral air services agreements between states generally contain the principles governing the designation of airlines for the operation of specified routes, the capacity offered by such airlines and the procedures for the agreement of tariffs. Contracting states under bilateral air services agreements typically designate only one or a small number of national airlines to exercise the rights to operate on the routes granted to its parent state by other states under bilateral air services agreements or treaties. China is a party to 93 bilateral air services agreements.