Have you ever thought of such possibilities? There are always been simple solutions for the idea of the nationality of the newly born baby when the parents belong to two different nationalities. We very well know that a baby born in another country acquires the country’s citizenship.
Now, what if the baby is born in mid-air? Does he belong to the sky? It is a complicated question that confounds the most geographically and legally astute: what is the nationality of a baby born on an airplane? Assuming that the pregnant mother is even allowed on the plane in the first place, this question is quite the puzzler. There have been many attempts over the years to settle the issue but the problem still remains.
Think about it this way. Hypothetically speaking, an American mother boarded Air France plane in Paris bound for Cairo, Egypt. While over Italian airspace, the baby gets out of mother’s womb. Is the baby declared American, French, Egyptian, Italian, or some combination?
The problem, however, is determining how high that airspace is because each country has their own definition. Some say 43 miles up, some say 99. In the Bogota Declaration of 1976, eight equatorial nations claimed their airspace to 22,000 miles above the Earth, where spy satellites plant themselves and look down upon the planet.
This same question of nationality could also apply to babies born on ships traveling in international waters. Technically, no one owns the seas. When traveling on the ocean or above the Earth, a person is geographically nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
As of now, there’s no fine law that totally provides the answer. But, popular professor and author Alastair Bonnett mentions that if you board a German plane, wherever you fly, you’re in Germany and the German law applies.
So babies born on a plane can both have the citizenship of the nation that owns the plane or the citizenship of the parent. And there’s more to it. Some nations confer citizenships to fly-by babies, and some don’t. So what nation you fly over is also important.
This started long back, enshrined in English common law, this phrase means, “Whoever owns the soil, it is theirs all the way up to heaven and down to hell.” Thankfully, this has been modified over the years to mean that each country owns the airspace necessary for the “use and enjoyment” of their plot of land.