MOU between the Hague CAA and SIMC a major step forward for the Asian aviation industry

This article was co-authored by Rachel McParlin, Legal Executive in Singapore.

The implementation of a MOU between the Hague CAA and Singapore International Mediation Centre represents a significant progression for the Asian aviation industry and is a step forward towards fostering a more robust, secure, efficient and conciliatory aviation community across the region.


In a significant move to expand and encourage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) across the aviation industry, the Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation (Hague CAA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) at the Singapore Airshow in February 2024.

The MOU represents a momentous step towards establishing a specialised mediation framework, tailored to aviation and aerospace disputes and which is intended to cater to aviation stakeholders in Asia who currently have to look further afield, primarily Europe, for such specialised ADR.

What needs to happen going forward

The signing of the MOU signifies the beginning of a collaborative effort between the Hague CAA and the SIMC, and subsequent steps will shift towards ensuring the effective execution and implementation of the predetermined terms outlined in the MOU. This may entail the formulation of a comprehensive action plan delineating precise steps, duties, schedules, and resources required for fulfilling the MOU's provisions.

In particular, the MOU advocates for the integration of appropriate dispute resolution clauses tailored to the aviation sector, and the process of researching the needs of the aviation industry and drafting the clauses is likely underway. Furthermore, a central aspect of the MOU involves the cooperation between the Hague CAA and SIMC regarding industry events and training opportunities. Planning and implementation of these activities will be initiated by both parties.

Benefits of Mediation v Litigation

The aviation industry operates in a dynamic and interconnected global environment, where disputes can arise from a multitude of factors such as contractual disagreements, regulatory issues and operational challenges. These disputes, which often prove to be adversarial, lengthy and costly to resolve, can involve various parties such as airlines, airports, regulatory authorities, aviation service providers, manufacturers and passengers.

Mediation, as opposed to traditional litigation processes, promotes cooperation and dialogue between parties, allowing them to craft mutually acceptable solutions with the assistance of a neutral mediator. By embracing mediation, the MOU seeks to streamline the resolution process, reduce costs, and preserve valuable business relationships within the aviation sector.

Moreover, the MOU benefits from Singapore's reputation as a global arbitration and mediation hub. With its well-established legal framework, robust infrastructure, and pool of experienced mediators, Singapore provides an optimal environment for conducting efficient and impartial mediation proceedings. The MOU leverages Singapore's expertise in alternative dispute resolution to offer parties an attractive, reliable platform for resolving aviation-related conflicts.

Why this is good news

The MOU's signing represents a significant and timely advancement for the Asian aviation industry. As the industry looks to put the pandemic firmly in its rear-view mirror, with domestic demand already surpassing pre-COVID levels and international markets showing robust growth trajectories, the establishment of a reliable and respected mediation framework will be crucial for aviation stakeholders to effectively and efficiently resolve complex aviation and aerospace disputes more locally when necessary.

Additionally, amidst advancements in advanced air mobility initiatives across countries such as China, Japan, Singapore, and India, and considering the enduring impact of COVID on supply chain issues, the industry faces an increased susceptibility to disputes. Therefore, mediation assumes greater importance now more than ever in effectively managing potential conflicts and addressing unforeseen challenges amid the rapidly evolving landscape of the industry.


The implementation of the MOU between the Hague CAA and SIMC represents a significant progression for the Asian aviation industry and is a step forward towards fostering a more robust, secure, efficient and conciliatory aviation community across the region. As developments unfold, stakeholders within and beyond the industry will closely monitor developments, recognising the potential for far-reaching benefits and advancements.

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