The below information has been included on the website to help users understand key legislation. It is not intended to be used as legal advice and users should seek advice from a qualified practitioner should they need to do so. The information is correct at the time of writing.
In Austria, the following legislative and regulatory regime applies to air accidents:
The system and procedure of investigation of aircraft accidents is set out in the Accident Investigation Act (Unfalluntersuchungsgesetz – UUG) which implemented EC Council Directive No. 56/94, establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of civil aviation accidents and incidents and Regulation (EU) No. 996/2010 on the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation and repealing Directive 94/56/EC.
Aircraft accidents are investigated in an administrative procedure by the Federal Accident Investigation Agency, which is subordinate to the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). Although organised as part of the BMVIT, the Federal Accident Investigation Agency may act independently and is not bound to any instructions of the BMVIT.
The exclusive duty of the Federal Accident Investigation Agency is to determine the cause of the accident, in order to elaborate safety recommendations to avoid similar accidents in the future. It is not entitled to comment on liability issues, which are determined by Austrian civil courts.
The investigation procedure is not public and must be initiated without delay. Premises where an accident has arisen may be accessed, any documents and evidence necessary to complete the agency’s duty may be viewed, witnesses and other persons may be questioned and experts may be assigned. The aircraft operator, manufacturer, crew, maintenance companies and relevant authorities must be granted the opportunity to submit a written statement before the agency’s investigation report is finalised. The final investigation report must be made public, if possible, not later than 12 months after the accident.
Air accidents causing bodily injury or death to persons are regularly subject to criminal investigation proceedings of the Federal Prosecution Authority. In such cases, the simultaneous investigation of the Federal Accident Investigation Agency is subject to the consent of and collaboration with the Federal Prosecution Authority. Details of this cooperative approach are set out in two public decrees of the Austrian Ministry of Justice of 2 August 2006 and 26 March 2008.
Air carriers: operating licences
In order to obtain an operating licence in Austria, air carriers need to take the following steps:
In Austria, the competent authority that grants an operating licence is Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT);
An operating licence is granted on the basis of EC Regulation No. 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (Recast of the EEC Regulation No. 2407/92 on licensing of air carriers (‘Community air carrier’)).
The following documents have to be provided together with the application form:
- Articles of association and extract from the company register (from the company, as well as its shareholders).
- Proof of nationality.
- Proof that the seat of the company is in Austria and that its main activity is commercial air transport.
- Proof of substantial ownership/effective control by nationals of EU Member States.
- (Clear) criminal record of the management.
- Proof of insurance according to Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004.
- Proof of financial fitness (see information provided under www.bmvit.gv.at).
- Proof of the technical and operational prerequisites, in particular in respect of the aircraft to be used (note: the aircraft have to be registered in Austria).
- Proof of Air Operator Certificate (AOC), issued by the ACG.