Births in the air
Perhaps comforting to know are the statistical figures of the Atlantis magazine, because according to them, births in the air take place extremely rarely. According to the magazine, only 0.8 births per aircraft are registered in the air each year.
If offspring are actually born above the clouds, the question of citizenship still has to be clarified. Various legal views come into play here:
- Territorial law (Chicago Convention): this states that a country has sovereignty within its borders (this includes its airspace). If these legal provisions apply, the child acquires the citizenship of the country over whose airspace it is at birth.
- Parentage law: this applies e.g. in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. It states that the child gets the citizenship of the parents.
- It can be difficult if the aircraft is just over no man's land (e.g. Atlantic Ocean). In this case, the law of the country in which the aircraft is registered often applies.
- The coordinates where the aircraft was located at the time of birth are entered in the passport as the place of birth for onboard babies.
It is also reassuring to know that airline crew members regularly receive courses in "first aid". Lufthansa, for example, explains in an interview with the General Anzeiger Bonn that its on-board personnel are also prepared for possible births on board as part of regular training courses.
If a birth really does occur on the plane, the pilots usually opt for a safety landing at the nearest airport. The larger the aircraft, the greater the likelihood that there will be a doctor among the other passengers to offer assistance. Nevertheless, it is probably not desirable to give birth above the clouds. In the summer of last year, a little boy who gave birth on a flight from Saudi Arabia to India was lucky. Lucky not only because both his new mother and he himself survived the birth in good health, but also because the joyous event above the clouds was a first for Jet Airlines. To celebrate the first in-flight baby, the airline gave the little one a lifetime of free air travel on Jet Airlines. A generous gesture that is not usually provided by airlines in this form.