In the aftermath of the numerous terrorist attacks in the European Union, EU member states agreed that additional measures were needed regarding the use of passenger name record data. Belgium has implemented a legal framework for passenger name record data based on EU legislation. It is hoped that the framework will enable all actors to achieve the main aim of fighting terrorist threats and serious crime.
As part of the Federal Public Service for Mobility and Transport, the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for developing and maintaining the Belgian Aviation Safety Programme (BASP) in accordance with EU and international requirements on behalf of the state. The cornerstones of the aviation safety policy set out in the BASP are safety management, continuous improvement and a risk-based approach.
A legal vacuum has been filled with a new royal decree on the use of remote controlled aircraft in Belgian airspace. All market players ‒ from manufacturers to service providers ‒ can now develop their activities within the new legal framework, under which safety is paramount. The new regulatory regime provides the required legal certainty to commercialise and operate drones in Belgium, which has been welcomed by the sector.
The Chicago Convention provides that all aircraft must be registered with a national aviation authority and must carry evidence of this registration in the form of a certificate of registration at all times when in operation. The Belgian Aircraft Registry is an operator registry, meaning that aircraft are registered under the name of the operator only. In order to register an aircraft, an operator must submit documents evidencing its title, ownership or lease over the aircraft.
Legislation governing the civil and commercial use of drones in Belgium is limited, but a recently announced draft royal decree aims to fill the legal vacuum. Under the decree, commercial operators will need to register their activity with the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority and take out specific insurance. However, the decree will not apply to toy drones used by children under 14 or to drones used solely for recreational purposes.
The exemption regime applicable to general aviation ground handling at Brussels Airport, pursuant to Article 19 of the Royal Decree of November 6 2010, regulates access to the ground handling market at Brussels Airport. The decree was recently amended by a new royal decree, which added two definitions to clarify that the exemption regime also applies to business and private charter aviation.
The applicability of the EU regulations governing passenger claims has often been the subject of intense legal debate. A Brussels court recently confirmed Article 5 of the EU Brussels I Regulation as the mandatory legal framework on jurisdiction with regard to passenger claims for compensation. The decision has increased legal certainty in an area pervaded by ample pro-consumer case law.
The Belgian Ministry of Public Health and the Brussels Airport Company have recently put several measures into place at Brussels Airport in order to reduce the Ebola infection risk, including compulsory temperature screening for passengers flying from Ebola-stricken countries. It is not unthinkable that these measures will be extended if the Ebola threat expands to other countries.