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Will the New ICAO–Beijing Instruments Build a Chinese Wall for International Aviation Security?

The last 6 years have seen an unprecedented level of activity in the field of international aviation law, with the adoption of three new conventions and one new protocol. This is a testament to ICAO’s leadership role and its ongoing relevance, particularly in the field of aviation security. The tragic events of 9/11 highlighted some weaknesses in the international law regime and were the impetus behind the nine-year process that led to the adoption of the 2010 Beijing Convention and Protocol. This Article reviews the historical background to the new treaties, including the journey taken through the ICAO process. It also analyzes in detail the provisions of the new treaties, assesses the views expressed in support as well as in opposition of their adoption, and considers the important perspective of the airline industry. Finally, the key question of whether or not the Beijing instruments will lead to improvements in aviation security is addressed.


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