Contributor: Pendl Mair Attorneys at Law

Author: Rudolf Pendl

1. Is there specific legislation in Austria ruling the using of documents (such as Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs) executed with the use of digital platforms or any electronic signatures by the local Aviation Authority?

Based on the European Union Regulation (elDAS Regulation) and Austrian Regulation (E-Government-Act), Austro Control GmbH electronically signs certificates and issues the documents either in electronic or in paper format (since July 1, 2023).

2. If your answer to (1) is yes, is there any specific requirement for the validity of such signatures, such as completion with a specific cryptographic platform developed by any local institute of technology?

The official signature must have certain features that ensure the security of the signature or seal itself and the validity of the document when printed on paper. Section 19 of the E-Government Act states that, in addition to the figurative mark and information on the verifiability of the signature or seal, it must also contain an indication that the document has been officially signed.

The validity of the certificate can be checked on this website: Signatur/signaturpruefung/

3. Does the Aviation Authority in Austria use an electronic register for Aircraft Documents or Aircraft Lease Documents (including Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs)?

No, Austro Control does not have an electronic register for Aircraft Documents.

Austro Control only has an Aircraft Register for Civil Aircrafts (aeroplanes, rotorcraft and powered sailplanes). It is possible to check the assignment of registration marks, registration, change of registration and deregistration of aircraft in this register.

4. If your reply to question 3 is yes, is it possible to upload electronic files for registration, such as Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs with the Aviation Authority in Austria?

See Question 3.

5. Do the courts of Austria consider valid and enforceable documents executed by the use of some type of digital signature or certification even if not registered (or registrable) with the local Aviation Authority?

In general, the use of digital certification documents will be valid and enforceable. However, certain exceptions may apply.

6. Is it possible to upload lawsuits, pleadings, and procedural documents electronically in Austria?

All initial and subsequent submissions (lawsuits, responses, motions, pleadings, appeals, claims, etc.), including enclosures, can be transmitted to and received electronically and securely by Austrian courts and public prosecutors’ offices (initial submissions only) via the Electronic Legal Communication of the Judiciary (ERV). Lawyers are even obligated to use ERV.

7. Do the courts of Austria accept procedural documents executed digitally? Is there any specific certification required? Does Austria make any distinction between official digital signatures and private digital signatures?

There are different types of electronic signatures: “simple” electronic signature, qualified electronic signature and administrative signature (“Amtssignatur”).

Depending on the security level and the certificate, the signed documents have different effects.

Documents provided with a “simple” (e.g., scan copy) electronic signature are subject to the free evaluation of evidence by the judge in court proceedings. Thus, there is also no legal certainty.

According to Art. 25 (2) eIDAS Regulation, the qualified electronic signature fulfills the legal requirement of a wet signature. In order to generate a qualified electronic signature, the signatory must have a qualified certificate, in addition to a qualified signature creation device, such as a smart card with the corresponding signature software.

The administrative signature is issued by an authority to PDF documents such as official notices.

8. Are there any formal requirements for the validity of documents executed by digital signatures? Ex.: Does the consent of the parties to digital signatures have to be expressly referred to in the agreement?

A qualified certificate must meet certain technical requirements (Art. 28 & Annex I of the eIDAS Regulation), such as electronic signature validation data corresponding to the electronic signature creation data. Since electronic signatures are legally equivalent to wet signatures, the electronic signature does not have to be expressly agreed to in a contract. However, please note that there are some exceptions regarding family law, inheritance law or suretyships.

9. Can foreign entities not located in Austria execute Lease Agreements or any Finance Documents with digital signatures to be filed for registration with the Aviation Authority in Austria? Are there any other formalities required?

Certificates from the European Union or the European Economic Area are generally equivalent to certificates from Austrian trust service providers. This especially applies to qualified certificates.

Certificates from third countries can be used in the European Union or the European Economic Area for non-qualified electronic signatures or seals (see Articles 25 (1) and 35 (1) of the eIDAS Regulation). However, they are only considered qualified certificates if they are issued within the framework of a trust service recognized under an agreement concluded between the Union and the third country concerned or an international organization pursuant to Article 218 TFEU.

10. Does the Aviation Industry in Austria usually use digital tools such as blockchain technology for the purpose of control of Aircraft Documents in substitution of printed paper Aircraft Documents?


11. Are there any Notary or Apostille requirements in Austria? If so, do they apply to electronically executed documents, and how does this affect the possibility of electronic execution and delivery of aviation documents?

For electronically issued documents that are forwarded electronically to the competent authority without media disruption, the data contained in the electronic signature or seal certificate can be confirmed by using an electronic signature confirmation (apostille) if the technical and organizational requirements are met.

Please note that Austro Control generally does not require notarized documents for the registration process of aircraft.

a. Has Austria implemented the e-Apostille program?

Yes, according to the Apostille Act, electronic apostilles are equivalent to paper apostilles and are recognized by the contracting states to the “Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.”

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