Investigations for possible criminal acts which take place within the civil aviation are dealt with in The Netherlands by the Aviation Expertise Centre of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) North Holland. This is where the national coordinating aviation prosecutor works.

The core of the aviation cases are incidents whereby the safety is or can be put at stake. Think of passengers who misbehave in an airplane (unruly passengers), punishable acts in the manned aviation (major parties in commercial air transport and general aviation) or unmanned aviation (drones), laser incidents and unlawful stay at airports. The PPS sees the aviation safety as an essential aspect of the general interest for our society. That aspect is therefore emphatically weighed in the settlement of aviation cases. By this, the PPS wishes to contribute to the advancement of ‘Just Culture’. In the aviation law and legislation a great weight is attached to this culture, which encourages the people concerned to report the incidents and to learn from it, without exempting them from normal responsibility.

Aviation cases have to do with complex situations and complicated legislation. The PPS considers it important to show what its position is in this and wants to secure the knowledge and experience not only internally, but also externally. In practice, the focus in the past years was directed to manned aviation. With a view to aviation safety, the PPS believes it is important to pay more attention to unmanned aviation, which is in full swing. With the ‘remote pilots’ who operate the drones the number of participants in the air traffic has increased substantially. The possibilities of the drones are increasingly put to use and innovations take ever more different forms. The air space for manned and unmanned aviation is gradually integrated. The aviation expertise centre is going to prepare itself fully for this development, together with the aviation police and other chain partners.