THE POSTAL HISTORY OF ICAO

 

International Standards and Recommended Practices

 

Front page of the ICAN Convention

As the Organization preceding ICAO, the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN) held twenty-nine sessions between July 1922 and October 1946, with an interruption during WWII. ICAN had developed 8 Annexes (A to H), as follows: Classification of aircraft and definitions, the markings of aircraft (A); Certificates of airworthiness (B); Log books (C); Rules as to lights and signals, rules for air traffic (D); Operating crew (E); Aeronautical maps and ground signs (F); Collection and dissemination of meteorological information (G); Customs (H). The ICAN convention was a limited one and so was its implementation, because even during most of the 1930’s the aeroplane was a regional rather than a world-wide means of transport.

 

At the Chicago Conference in 1944, drafts of twelve technical Annexes were completed to serve as a guide to world-wide practice pending the coming into force of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and then their formal adoption by the ICAO Council and then acceptance by States.

 

Twelve original Annexes to the Chicago Convention

A

Airways systems

B

Communications procedures and systems

C

Rules of the air

D

Air traffic control practices

E

Standards governing the licensing of operating and mechanical personnel

F

Log book requirements

G

Airworthiness requirements for civil aircraft engaging in international air navigation

H

Aircraft registration and identification marks

I

Meteorological protection of international aeronautics

J

Aeronautical maps and charts

K

Customs procedures and manifests

L

Search and rescue, and investigation of accidents

 

When PICAO came into existence, much of its work involved the drafting of recommendations for standards, practices and procedures to be adopted by States pending the establishment of International Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) by the permanent Organization.  Two committees of the  PICAO Council, e.g. the Air Navigation Committee and the Air Transport Committee, were established and technical divisions composed of specialists from Members States and of observers from organizations interested in international civil aviation, assisted by the Organization’s Secretariat, were directed and coordinated by the Committees. The various divisions met and drew up specifications for what were then known as Recommendations for Standards, Practices and Procedures. After approval by the PICAO Council, these recommendations were presented to the various Member States for adoption into their national regulations.

 

Front page of the Chicago Convention

With the coming into existence of the permanent Organization in April 1947, the status of the standards underwent a major change, as the work of the divisions was considered by the Air Navigation Commission, then adopted by the Council and finally submitted to the Contracting States. If a majority of the States does not register disapproval of these standards and recommended practices, they become effective; each states is bound to put them into practices or to notify to ICAO of any difference between any of its own practices and those established by the international standard. Adoption of these standards by the Council gives them status as Annexes to the Convention.

 

As standards were developed, either the subjects of annexes were split or new annexes were conceived, and most of the titles were revised. Also as the lettering system of the annexes based on the English alphabet might have led to confusion in other languages, the nomenclature of the annexes was changed to numerals. Since first adoption of the annexes, many amendments to them were considered in a continuous process of improvement and development.

 

 

 

 

Annexes to the Convention as adopted by 1953

Titles changed over the years since 1953

1

Personnel Licensing

 

2

Rules of the Air

 

3

Meteorological Codes

Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation

4

Aeronautical Charts

 

5

Dimensional Units to be used in Air-Ground Communications

Units of Measurement to be Used in Air and Ground Operations

6

Operation of Aircraft – Scheduled International Air Services

Operation of Aircraft

7

Aircraft Nationality and Registration Marks

 

8

Airworthiness of Aircraft

 

9

Facilitation of International Air Transport

Facilitation

10

Aeronautical Telecommunications

 

11

Air Traffic Services

 

12

Search and Rescue

 

13

Aircraft Accident Inquiry

Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation

14

Aerodromes

 

15

Aeronautical Information Services

 

 

In addition, a material not yet sufficiently mature for inclusion in annexes has been assembled in a series of publications entitled Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS); approved by the Council for worldwide application, they may also comprise material prepared as an amplification of the basic principles in the corresponding annexes and designed to assist the user in the application of those principles. Moreover, specifications peculiar to some areas of the world, known as Regional Supplementary Procedures (SUPPS), were developed from the 1960s; they have a status similar to PANS in that they are approved by the Council, but only for application in their respective region. To facilitate the implementation and to promote the uniform application of the specifications in the various Annexes and PANS, Technical Manuals or Guidance Material in several forms or Manuals were later developed from the 1960s.

 

In the early years of civil aviation, no one foresaw the necessity of having provisions covering the negative side of civil aviation. The Organization addressed the subject of protection of the environment initially at the 16th Session of the Assembly held in Buenos Aires in 1968; the resulting complex study of the effects of aircraft noise led to the adoption of Annex 16 in 1971: Environmental Protection. The effect of aircraft engine emissions on atmospheric pollution was also examined.

 

In its concern about the growing threat of violence against international civil aviation and its facilities, including unlawful seizure of aircraft, an Extraordinary Session of the ICAO Assembly was convened on this subject in Montreal, in June 1970. Subsequently in 1974, the Council adopted SARPS in Annex 17 on Security: Safeguarding International Civil Aviation against Acts of Unlawful Interference.

 

In the 70s, ICAO had to address the problem of aviation’s emergence as a major mode of commerce, i.e. the growing threat to passengers, crews and public posed by the transport of dangerous goods. In 1976, it was estimated that more than one half of the materials carried by all modes of transport were potentially dangerous. To ensure that dangerous cargo can be carried safely by air, ICAO adopted in 1983 Annex 18 on The Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, which became effective in January 1984. This annex is somewhat unique in that it reflects coordinated efforts with the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ensuring full compatibility with their technical instructions.

 

Sixteen out of eighteen Annexes to the Convention are of a technical nature and therefore fall within the responsibilities of the Air Navigation Bureau and its sections. The remaining two Annexes, Facilitation (Annexe 9) and Security (Annex 17), are under the purview of the Air Transport Bureau.

 

Over the years, the ICAO Council has developed and adopted 18 technical Annexes to the Chicago Convention, most of which are under the responsibility of the Air Navigation Commission. The International Standards and Recommended Practices contained in these annexes are applied universally and have produced a degree of technical uniformity which has enabled international civil aviation to develop in a safe, orderly and efficient manner.

 

The following pictures illustrate some aspects covered by the Annexes.

 

Allegorical scenes of the eighteen technical Annexes to the Chicago Convention on a brilliant blue background.

Oil painting by Exequiel Martínez, donated by Argentina, shown in the elevator foyer of the office tower in Montreal.

 

Canada - 1 June 1955

10th Anniversary of the interim Agreement and first PICAO Meeting.

Meteorological station and communications service.

 

    

Cyprus - 21 November 1994 - 50th Anniversary of ICAO

Map of Cyprus island with surrounding air routes

(Enroute Chart; Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR).

 

Isle of Man - 27 April 1984

40th Anniversary of ICAO and 50th Anniversary of the first official airmail service to the Isle of Man

Aerogramme with de Havilland D.H.84 Dragon Mk 2, registered G‑ACXI.

 

        

Crew-man, aerodrome, and runway.

_________________________