Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 9. AVIATION [21001 - 24451]

  ( Division 9 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 151. )


  ( Heading of Part 1 amended by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2071. )

CHAPTER 2. Department of Transportation and State Aeronautics Board [21204 - 21258]

  ( Heading of Chapter 2 amended by Stats. 1975, Ch. 1052. )

ARTICLE 2. Powers and Duties [21240 - 21258]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 151. )


This state recognizes the authority of the federal government to regulate the operation of aircraft and to control the use of the airways, and nothing in this act shall be construed to give the department the power to so regulate and control safety factors in the operation of aircraft or to control use of the airways. This section does not affect the state’s power to regulate the intrastate rates of common carriers by air, and such power is hereby reserved to the state.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department shall encourage, foster, and assist in the development of aeronautics in this state and encourage the establishment of airports and air navigation facilities. It shall cooperate with and assist the federal government, political subdivisions of this state, and others in the development of aeronautics, and shall seek to coordinate their aeronautical activities.

Political subdivisions may cooperate with the department in the development of aeronautics and aeronautics facilities in this state.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may:

(a) Draft and recommend necessary legislation to advance the interest of the state in aeronautics.

(b) Represent the state in aeronautical matters before federal and other agencies.

(c) Participate as plaintiff or defendant or as intervenor on behalf of the state or any political subdivision or citizen in any controversy which involves the interest of the state in aeronautics.

(d) Assist political subdivisions and their law enforcement agencies in becoming acquainted with and enforcing the civil air regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may make and amend general or special rules, regulations, and procedures and establish minimum standards, consistent with and clearly within the scope of federal legislation governing aeronautics and the rules, regulations, and standards issued thereunder. The department may, by regulation, classify airports into several reasonable classes or groups according to their facilities and the types and number of aircraft which they are capable of handling and may make and amend rules, regulations, and procedures and establish minimum standards for each separate class or group.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


For the purpose of protecting and insuring the general public interest and safety and the safety of persons operating, using, or traveling in aircraft and developing aeronautics in this state, and after appropriate public hearings, the department may make and amend temporary general or special rules and procedures and establish temporary minimum standards consistent with this part as it deems necessary to administer this part. The department shall draft these temporary rules, procedures, and standards in the form of proposed aviation law and shall submit them to the next general session of the Legislature. These temporary rules, procedures, and standards shall not remain in effect beyond 90 days after the final adjournment of that session of the Legislature.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department shall keep on file with the Secretary of State, and at its principal office, a copy of all its rules for public inspection.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department shall provide for the publication and general distribution of all its orders, rules, and procedures having general effect.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may enter into any contracts necessary to the execution of its powers under this part. All contracts made by the department, either as the agent of the state or as the agent of any political subdivision, shall be made pursuant to the laws of the state governing the making of like contracts. Where the planning, acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance, or operation of any airport or air navigation facility is financed wholly or partially with federal money the department, as agent of the state or of any political subdivision, may let contracts in the manner prescribed by the federal authorities acting under the laws of the United States and any rules made thereunder.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may exercise any of its powers under this part jointly with any political subdivision, state agency, other states or their political subdivisions, or the United States.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may confer or hold joint hearings with any federal agency in connection with any matter arising under this part or relating to the sound development of aeronautics.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may avail itself of the cooperation, services, records, and facilities of the federal agencies in the administration and enforcement of this part. It shall cooperate with and make available to the federal agencies, its services, records, and facilities, insofar as practicable.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


In administering this part the department may use the facilities and services of other state agencies and political subdivisions to the utmost extent possible. These agencies and political subdivisions shall make available to the department their facilities and services.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


(a) (1) The department, its members, the director, officers and employees of the department, and every state and peace officer charged with the enforcement of state and subordinate laws or ordinances, may enforce and assist in the enforcement of this part, the rules and orders issued under this part, and all other laws of this state relating to aeronautics. In the enforcement of these rules, orders, and laws, the director, and any officers and employees as the director may designate, shall have the authority, as public officers, to arrest without a warrant, any person who, in his presence, has violated, or as to whom there is probable cause to believe has violated, any of the rules, orders, or laws.

(2) In any case in which an arrest authorized by this subdivision is made for an offense declared to be a misdemeanor, and the person arrested does not demand to be taken before a magistrate, the arresting officer may, instead of taking that person before a magistrate, follow the procedure prescribed by Chapter 5C (commencing with Section 853.5) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code. The provisions of that chapter shall thereafter apply with reference to any proceeding based upon the issuance of a citation pursuant to this authority.

(b) There shall not be civil liability on the part of, and a cause of action shall not arise against, any person, acting pursuant to subdivision (a) and within the scope of his authority, for false arrest or false imprisonment arising out of any arrest that is lawful or for which the arresting officer, at the time of the arrest, had reasonable cause to believe was lawful. The officer shall not be deemed an aggressor or lose his right to self-defense by the use of reasonable force to effect the arrest or to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.

(c) The director, and any officers and employees as the director may designate, may serve all processes and notices throughout the state.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 86, Sec. 272. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2017.)


In the name of the state, the department may enforce this part and rules and orders issued under this part by injunction or other legal process in the courts of this state.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may report to the appropriate federal agencies and agencies of other states all proceedings instituted charging violations of Section 21407, and Sections 21409 to 21412, inclusive, and all penalties of which it has knowledge imposed upon airmen or the owners or operators of aircraft for violations of the law of this state relating to aeronautics or for violations of the rules or orders of the department.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may receive reports of penalties and other data from agencies of the federal government and other states, and may enter into agreements with these agencies governing the delivery, receipt, exchange, and use of reports and data. The department may make the reports and data of these agencies and of the courts of this state available to any court of this state and to any officer of the state or of any political subdivision authorized to enforce the aeronautics laws by Section 21252.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may accept, receive, receipt for, disburse, and expend federal and other money, public or private, made available to accomplish in whole or in part any of the purposes of this part. All federal money accepted under this part shall be accepted and expended by the department upon the terms and conditions prescribed by the United States. In accepting federal money under this part, the department shall have the same authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the state as is granted to the department under Section 21603. The department shall deposit all money received under this section in the Special Deposit Fund in the State Treasury, to be disbursed or expended in accordance with the terms and conditions upon which it was made available.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department may own and operate aircraft for use in the furtherance of its duties, employ airmen and mechanics for proper operation and maintenance of the aircraft, and insure its employees against injury or death arising from aircraft accidents incurred in the performance of their assigned duties, within the limits of appropriations for these purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 138.)


The department shall represent the state and local agencies before the Civil Aeronautics Board and other federal agencies in all matters related to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-504, as amended) and the essential air service program created by that act. The department shall assist and cooperate with federal, state, and local agencies and private entities in the development of a stable and efficient regional air carrier system.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 638, Sec. 2.)

PUCPublic Utilities Code - PUC2