Aeronautical communications and navigation have experienced a constant development throughout the past century, with the aim of increasing safety and efficiency of international aviation. The main technical leap has been the introduction of space technologies next to the terrestrial infrastructure to support air navigation (CNS/ATM), especially in remote and oceanic areas and for precision approach operations. These techniques include the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for precision air navigation, such as GPS and Galileo, and of Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) for improved safety and non-safety aeronautical communications.

There is no unitary legal framework regulating these satellite-based services. Instead, a number of different and partially overlapping regimes concur to their overall discipline, both at international and national level. Industry self-regulation also plays an important part in this respect. The fast pace of technological development, combined with the fragmentation of the regulatory framework, constitutes a great challenge for the operators in the field.

The first focus of the research carried on at the University of Luxembourg is the interaction among such different regulatory frameworks and their impact on the provision of satellite aeronautical services. In particular, the tension between the need for harmonized rules at global level and the principle of State sovereignty is investigated, taking into consideration practical cases where national authorities impose restrictions in the use of navigation and communication satellite services in the national airspace.

The second main focus is the problems related to the enforcement of the existing rules, with specific reference to the lack of effective enforcement powers of ITU and ICAO. The research covers also role of national authorities and the particular case of extra-territorial airspace, such as the one above high seas and above Arctic and Antarctic regions.


Main contributor(s)Federico Bergamasco