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Office of International Aviation


The Department is responsible for promoting U.S. airline access to foreign markets and competition in international markets. It is also responsible for reducing trade barriers and facilitating the export of domestic transportation goods and services.

In conjunction with these responsibilities, the Office of International Aviation, in conjunction with the Department of State, negotiates bilateral and multilateral agreements with foreign aviation partners.  It also works with the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Department of State to ensure that provisions in U.S. trade agreement that may affect air services are consistent with U.S. aviation policy.  In helping to coordinate, develop and execute international aviation transportation policy, the Office of International Aviation regularly works with other U.S. government agencies, international organizations (such as ICAO, IATA, WTO, APEC, ECAC, etc.) and the competition and trade authorities of our foreign partners.  In addition, the Office of International Aviation addresses complaints of U.S. airlines experiencing difficulties in foreign markets and intervenes to resolve those problems.

The Office of International Aviation also licenses both U.S. and foreign airlines to serve international markets; assesses the public and competitive benefits of U.S. and foreign airline alliances and code-share arrangements, and exercises regulatory oversight of international aviation pricing issues, including inter-carrier fare and rate agreements.

Our Divisions

Negotiations Division

The negotiating staff of the Office of International Aviation plans and executes U.S. strategy for achieving a procompetitive operating environment for U.S. airline services between the United States and foreign countries. The Office develops and coordinates U.S. policy positions and, in conjunction with the Department of State, conducts bilateral and multilateral negotiations with foreign aviation officials.  The negotiators also are the principal U.S. Government liaison with the aviation industry and U.S. communities on international matters. These geographic specialists work with other U.S Government agency officials and with foreign officials, to resolve day-to-day airline difficulties outside the formal negotiating process.

Pricing and Multilateral Affairs

The Pricing and Multilateral Affairs Division performs a variety of both regulatory and negotiating functions. The Division formulates the Department's policy on international aviation pricing issues and prepares and negotiates significant pricing provisions of bilateral and multilateral aviation agreements. Division analysts also conduct regulatory review of international general rules tariffs filed by U.S. and foreign air carriers, such as rules on conditions of carriage, baggage allowances, liability, and carriage of passengers with disabilities, for consistency with public interest standards, Department rules and policy, and applicable international agreements. The staff also reviews inter-carrier agreements, mostly technical standard-setting agreements filed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to determine whether they may be implemented. Division staff also provide analytical support for negotiating activities of the Office’s geographic units.

The Division also is responsible for managing aviation economic aspects of U.S. relations with a number of multinational organizations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC),  the European Union (EU), The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Division staff analyze aviation issues addressed by these organizations and represent the United States at multilateral meetings.

U.S. Air Carrier Licensing

The U.S. Air Carrier Licensing Division processes all requests by U.S. airlines for authority to serve foreign markets. The division uses simplified procedures to grant routine applications to serve countries with which a liberal aviation regime affords broad market access.  Where rights are limited, show-cause or competitive selection  procedures are invoked to assure that all interested carriers are afforded an opportunity to apply, and that the best public-interest result is achieved.  The division also considers applications for transfer of international authority among U.S. carriers.

Another significant area of the division's responsibilities is handling formal complaints filed by U.S. carriers seeking relief, under the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act (IATFCPA), from unfair or discriminatory treatment in foreign countries. Contact information

Foreign Air Carrier Licensing

This division handles all foreign air carrier applications for operating authority (except Canadian air taxi registration which is handled by the Special Authorities Division).  The Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division performs fitness analysis of its applicants in addition to resolving the public interest issues associated with an application where needed. Contact information

Foreign carriers file docketed applications for foreign air carrier permits and long-term exemptions, and undocketed applications for short-term exemptions, charter statements of authorization (for all Fifth Freedom charters, certain Third and Fourth Freedom charters, long-term wet leases, blocked-space arrangements and code sharing), permits for foreign aircraft agricultural and industrial operations and other forms of authority.  The Division also produces orders intended to respond to unfair treatment of U.S. airlines abroad.  These include orders imposing/rescinding Part 213 schedule filing requirements on foreign carriers, orders disapproving the schedules, and orders subjecting foreign carriers to Third and Fourth Freedom charter approval.

Special Authorities

The Special Authorities Division (SAD) administers and implements the provisions of 14 CFR Parts 212, 294, 297 and 380 to ensure that U.S. and foreign operators are in compliance with the department’s regulations.  Specifically, SAD administers the bonding, escrow, and liability insurance requirements imposed on direct and indirect air carriers, Canadian air taxis and foreign air freight forwarders under the Department’s regulations.  The division reviews charter prospectuses filed under the Department’s public charter rules, and processes the registration of foreign tour operators, foreign air freight forwarders and Canadian air taxis.  The division also grants waivers from the governing regulations where appropriate and in the public interest.  Contact information