The first known human flight took place in Paris in 1783. Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Francois d'Arlandes went 8 kilometer in a hot air balloon invented by the Montgolfier brothers. The balloon was powered by a wood fire, was uncontrolled and reached a height of 26 meter. The first controlled, sustained lighter-than-air flight took place in 1852. Henri Giffard flew 24 kilometer in France, with a steam engine mounted on a dirigible. For the next hundred years, airships would considered a serious option.
The economic onward march of the aeroplane as a mode of transport continues with relentless vigour. Austrian aviation companies hold operating licences for the commercial carriage of passengers, post and freight under Council Regulation (EEC) No 2407/92 of 23 July 1992 and air operator's certificates listing the individual aircraft and the operations for which they are licensed. Commercial aircraft are maintained by certified maintenance organisations in accordance with European safety regulations (EASA Part 145). Compliance with safety standards is overseen by experts of Austro Control GmbH.
More and more people – including the very young – are fans of air travel. Many people travel by air to their holiday destinations, but this fast method of transport is used extensively by business travellers too. Aviation authorities attach great importance to compliance with national and international safety regulations. In an effort to standardize safety standards worldwide, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) was set up in 1944 as a specialized agency of the UN. Austria is one of the 190 states that are currently members of ICAO.
Aircraft types range from hot air balloons, hang gliders and paragliders to motorised hang- and paragliders, traditional gliders, microlights, and powered aircraft up to and including big passenger jets.
Operating times for Austrian airports vary, and only Vienna Airport allows night flights. Regulations are in place to keep noise levels down (Civil Aircraft Permissible Noise Levels Order (ZLZV).
The Department for Aviation Policy works to improve Austria’s integration with international aviation systems, taking particular account of the aviation industry’s specific interests.
Attention is also paid to the increasing importance of safeguarding consumers. On all these matters Austria takes part in the work of regulation as a member of international forums like the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the European Union (EU).