Legislative Act No. 3909 passed by the Philippine Legislative on November 20, 1931 created an Office under the Department of Commerce and Communications to handle aviation matters, particularly the enforcement of rules and regulations governing commercial aviation as well as private flying. It was amended by Act 3996 to include licensing of airmen and aircraft, inspection of aircraft concerning air traffic rules, schedules and rates and enforcement of Aviation Laws.
From 1932 to 1936, there were no standard procedures as to the licensing of airmen, registration of aircraft and recording of various aeronautical activities connected with commercial aviation. There were attempts made to register planes and their owners without ascertaining their airworthiness and to record names of pilots, airplane mechanics and other details.
In 1933, the office of Technical Assistant of Aviation matters was enlarged into the Aeronautics Division under the Department of Commerce and Industry, the functions of which were embodied in Administrative Order No. 309, a joint Bulletin issued by the Department of Public Works and Communications and the Department of Finance.
In October, 1934 Act 4033 was passed to require a franchise from the Philippine government in order to operate an air service and to regulate foreign aircraft operations.
On November 12, 1936, the Philippine Legislative passed Commonwealth Act No. 168, better known as the Civil Aviation Law of the Philippines which created the Bureau of Aeronautics. After the liberation of the Philippines in March, 1945, the Bureau was reorganized and placed under the Department of National Defense. Among its functions was to promulgate Civil Aviation Regulations.
On October, 1947, Executive Order No. 94 which reorganized the government transferred Bureau of Aeronautics to the Newly created Department of Commerce and Industry and renamed Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).
On June 5, 1948, Republic Act 224 created the National Airports Corporation which was charged with the management and operations of all national airports.
On June 20, 1952, Republic Act No. 776, otherwise known as the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines reorganized the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Civil Aeronautics Administration. It defined the powers and duties of both agencies including the funds, personnel and the regulations of Civil Aviation.
On October 19, 1956, Executive Order No. 209 placed the Civil Aeronautics Administration under the administrative supervision and control of the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications.
On January 20, 1975, Letter of Instruction No. 244 transferred to the Department of Public Highways the responsibilities relative to airport plans, designs, construction, improvement, maintenance as well as site acquisition. The responsibilities related to location, planning design and funding were later returned to the CAA.
On July 23, 1979, Executive Order No. 546, the CAA was renamed the Bureau of Air Transportation (BAT) and placed under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
On April 4, 1987, Executive Order No. 125 renamed the Bureau of Air Transportation the Air Transportation Office headed by the Assistant Secretary of Air Transportation.
On March 4, 2008, Republic Act No. 9497 renamed the Air Transportation Office the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines headed by the Director General of Civil Aviation.