Multilateralization of international civil aviation relations and defragmentation of international air law
Due to, amongst other things, the lack of provisions of an economic nature in the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944, states have regulated their economic air transport relations mainly on a bilateral scale, nation-to-nation. This bilateral system was almost without exception in the period 1945–1985. As of about 1986, an increasing multilateralization of economic civil aviation relations, including antitrust, has been taking place mainly on a regional basis, first and foremost in Europe. Without doubt this multilateralization has brought about concomitant defragmentation and unification of international commercial air law.
Multilateralization can be understood in two ways: first, multilateralization between airlines, in the form of mergers, takeovers or airline alliances; and second, further multilateralization of intergovernmental relations and air transport agreements, to suit the multilateralization between airlines, for instance through open skies agreements.