THE POSTAL HISTORY OF ICAO

 

1946: Paris Regional air navigation meeting

 

The second Regional Air Navigation (RAN) meeting of the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO) was held in Paris, France for the European-Mediterranean Region from 24 April to 15 May 1946. In addition, a special European-Mediterranean meeting on air traffic control was convened in Paris from 28 October to 2 November 1946 to complete the work left unfinished at the regional meeting held earlier in April-May 1946.

 

On the technical side, the situation in post-war Europe was marked by the fact that no coherent navigation aids structure was available, that the ground-ground and air-ground communication systems were only partially in a state to correspond to the needs of operation under all conditions and that the air traffic services showed a wide variety in the procedures applied and in their efficiency. In addition, aeronautical information promulgated by States on available facilities and their operating status was insufficient or not available at all. The same also applied to the North Atlantic, which constituted the vital link between Europe and the North American sub-continent.

 

Urgent action appeared therefore required and it was for this reason that PICAO convened the first regional meeting dealing with the North Atlantic in March 1946 (the North Atlantic Route Service Conference, in Dublin) and the second in April-May 1946 (the Route Service Conference, in Paris; this meeting was renamed European-Mediterranean Regional Air Navigation Meeting). In both meetings, efforts were made to establish a route pattern to be used by international civil aviation and to determine the ground services and facilities which were required to allow a safe expeditious flow of air traffic.

 

During PICAO Council’s discussions held in April 1946, it was felt that the Route Service Conferences should be called meetings, as they should be considered as purely technical in character. Moreover, the expression route service was found impossible to translate into French; as the meaning of this English term was not clear, the Council agreed to change the title of those gatherings from PICAO Route Service Conferences to PICAO Regional Air Navigation Meetings (RAN). However, the postmark on the commemorative covers still reads Conférence Routes Aériennes, referring to the name given to this meeting when it was convened.

 

Postmark showing the original name given to this meeting:

CONFERENCE ROUTES AERIENNES.

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