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THE EDWARD WARNER AWARD ... A COMMEMORATION OF GREATNESS


Dr. Edward Pearson Warner (1894-1958) was an American aviation pioneer and educator in aeronautical engineering — author, scientist and Statesman, a member of the US Civil Aeronautics Board at its founding in 1938, a Delegate of the United States to the 1944 Chicago Conference for the Convention on International Civil Aviation, and an international civil servant whose greatness is commemorated by the world's civil aviation community in the international award which bears his name.

Edward Warner was one of the leading figures in the raising of civil aviation from the rubble and chaos of World War II with the inspiration of a world air transport system based on international co-operation. He became the first President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization during its provisional status from 1945 to 1947, and continued as President until his retirement in 1957. During his 12 years of service, Dr. Warner guided the Organization through its infancy, enlisting the co-operation of Governments and the dedication of individuals to build a lasting institution that successfully serves the world's civil aviation community and the travelling public.

In 1956, ICAO received from the City of Genoa its famed Christopher Columbus Award, which included a sum of more than $7,000, for ICAO's efforts in the development of international co-operation in air transportation. The ICAO Council subsequently decided to use these funds to establish its own continuing series of awards which would commemorate Dr. Edward Warner's great spirit and service to international civil aviation and give special recognition to individuals or institutions whose contribution towards the further development of civil aviation is outstanding.

The Edward Warner Award consists of a solid gold medal inscribed for the recipient, and a certificate of recognition citing the reasons for the Award. It is recognized throughout the world as the greatest single honour the international civil aviation community can bestow, for its importance is derived from the fact that it is given by ICAO on behalf of its Member States. No other international award offers such wide recognition.

The previous recipients of the Edward Warner Award are:

1959: Dr. Albert Plesman, Kingdom of the Netherlands; aviation pioneer, founder and President of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

1961: International Aeronautical Federation (est. 1905, Paris), worldwide organization of national aero clubs. Its primary aim is to encourage co-operation and progress in aviation.

1963: Mr. Max Hymans, France; aviation pioneer, former Secretary General for civil aviation in France, and President of Air France.

1965: Sir William Hildred, United Kingdom; former Director General of Civil Aviation in the UK, and Director General of the International Air Transport Association.

1968: Mr. Henri Bouché, France; founder of the Air Transport Institute in Paris, an international centre for research on civil air transport economy, policy and technique; former Representative of France on the ICAO Council.

1971: Mr. Ruben Martin Berta, Brazil; former President of Varig Airlines, who gave a lifetime of dedicated service to civil aviation, both in his native land and within the international sphere of air transportation.

1972: ASECNA - Agence pour la Sécurité de la Navigation aérienne en Afrique et à Madagascar (est. 1959 by an international convention, Dakar, Senegal); composed of 15 French-speaking States which co-operate to ensure the safety and regularity of civil aviation over the territories of ASECNA's African Member States.

1973: Mr. Shizuma Matsuo, Japan; former President and Chairman of the Board of Japan Air Lines, he previously served his Government for 23 years in many civil aviation posts including Director General of the Aeronautics Safety Board and Director General of the Japan Aeronautics Agency.

1974: Professor Dr. Alex Meyer, Fed. Rep. of Germany; academician, jurist and aviator, he was for nearly 30 years a high-ranking Administrative Officer and later professor at Cologne University where he established and directed the Institute of Air Law and Space Law.

1975: Charles A. Lindbergh, United States; aviation pioneer who, through his solo transatlantic flight in 1927, unveiled the potential of international air transport. During a life dedicated to aviation, he significantly contributed to the establishment of operating procedures and safety standards and exercised a profound influence on aircraft engine development.

1976: COCESNA - Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea (est. 1960 by the Central American Aeronautical authorities); provides efficient and co-ordinated services for air navigation and communications which has remarkably increased the safety of international flights in the Central American region.

1977: Mohammed Soliman El Hakim, Egypt; former Director General of Civil Aviation who played a prominent role in the economic and technical development of civil air transport in the Arab countries. His efforts were instrumental in creating the Civil Aviation Council of Arab States (CACAS) of which he became the first President.

1978: Sir Donald Anderson, C.B.E., Australia; former Director General of Civil Aviation who - by promoting coordination and co-operation in civil aviation activities among the countries of Asia and the Pacific - had a major influence on the development of civil aviation in Australia. His valuable experience proved of immense service to aviation in the technical field, particularly the one relating to world standards for air traffic control.

1979: Mr. Agnar Kofoed-Hansen, Reykjavik, Iceland; Director General of Civil Aviation, Iceland, for his very valuable contribution to international civil aviation and, in particular, for the prominent role he played in the development of air navigation services over the North Atlantic.

1980: Dr. Indalecio Rego Fernandez, Spain; pilot, jurist and educator, he has dedicated himself with outstanding energy to the development of international civil aviation.

1981: Dr. Harry G. Armstrong, United States; former Director of the United States Aeromedical Research Laboratory, in recognition of his work as a pioneer in the field of aviation medicine and for his contribution to the safety and comfort of international civil air transport.

1982: Dr. Werner Guldimann, Olten, Switzerland; former Director of the Federal Office of Civil Aviation of Switzerland, for his eminent contribution as a lawyer, scholar, administrator, educator and pilot. Particularly noted for the development and unification of international air law.

1983: Mr. Knut Hammarskjöld, born in Geneva, is of Swedish nationality; former Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), he has dedicated a substantial part of his life to the furtherance of mutual understanding and co-operation in the field of international civil aviation among the peoples of the world.

1984: Mr. Maurice Bellonte, Meru-Oise, France; received the Award posthumously in recognition of his eminent contribution, as a pioneer aviator and navigator, to the science of air navigation.

1985: Dr. Alexandr Fedotovich Aksenov, USSR; scientist, engineer and educator, he actively participated in the development of aviation technology, as well as new types of aviation fuels, oils and lubricants and aircraft such as the TU-144, IL-86, IL-76, TU-154 and YAK-42. In 1975, Dr. Aksenov became Rector of the Kiev Institute of Civil Aviation Engineers.

1986: Mr. J.R.D. Tata, born in Paris of Indian nationality, was the first to qualify as a pilot in his country in 1929. Founder Chairman and Chief Executive of Air-India Ltd. and Air-India International until all airlines in India were nationalised, he was thereafter appointed Chairman of the Company. He developed new routes between India and other countries and also served the international aviation community as President of the Executive Committee of IATA.

1988: AEROTHAI - Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, established in April 1948 at the initiative of scheduled airlines and as a licensed agency of the Government of Thailand, represents a unique example of co-operation in which the provider of the service is owned by the users. It has eminently contributed to the development of international civil aviation in a region of the world where air transport operations have expanded at a rapid pace.

1989: Mrs. Anesia Pinheiro Machado, born in Brazil; recognized as a pioneer woman aviator and for her contribution to the development of international civil aviation in Latin America.

1990: Mr. Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky, born in Kiev, USSR; world-renowned aeronautical designer and engineer and known for his successful work in helicopter development.

1991: Dr. K.N.E. Bradfield, born in Gordon, NSW, Australia; recognized for his eminent contribution to the development and provision of the technical and operational requirements of the ground-based infrastructure of international civil aviation.

1992: Dr. Edward R.K. Dwemoh, born in Ghana; pioneer of civil aviation in Africa and first President of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC).

1993: Mr. Arnold Kean, United Kingdom; recognized for his 40 years of active involvement in the legal work of ICAO, most recently, his contribution to the successful conclusion of the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection in February 1991.

1994: Professor Dr. Ing. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, Indonesia; recognized for his eminent contribution in promoting the aircraft manufacturing industry in the developing world.

1995: Captain Elrey B. Jeppesen, United States; recognized for his contribution to the safe development of international aviation and of air navigation in particular, both as a former airline pilot and as founder of the Jeppesen Company, publisher of the Jeppesen Airway Manual which continues to provide aeronautical information for the safe conduct of flights.

1996: The Institute of Air and Space Law of McGill University (Canada), founded in 1951, recognized for its highly significant contribution to the development of international air law, both through its own activities in teaching, research, publication, and holding international conferences, and through the contributions of its more than 750 graduates from 117 different countries around the world.

1997: Dr. Tatyana Grigorievna Anodina, Russian Federation, in recognition of her eminent contribution, as scientist and researcher, to the development of national, regional and global air navigation aids for civil aviation at the international level.

1998: Dr. Kenneth Rattray, Jamaica, in recognition of his eminent contribution to the development of international civil aviation, particularly in the legal field.

1999: Mr. Jerome F. Lederer, United States of America, in recognition of his eminent contribution to the improvement of all aspects of safety in international civil aviation.

2000: Singapore Aviation Academy (SAA), in recognition of its eminent contribution as a centre of excellence in international civil aviation training.

2001: Petro Vasilyevich Balabuyev, Ukraine, in recognition of his eminent contribution to international civil aviation, through his lifetime achievements as an aircraft designer.

2002: International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine (IAASM), in recognition of the Academy's significant achievements in aviation medicine for almost a half century.

2004: Professor Brian O'Keeffe, Australia, in recognition of his eminent contribution to the development of international civil aviation, in particular his leading role in the field of air navigation systems.

2007: Dr. Silvio Finkelstein, Argentina, in recognition of his leadership in the field of aviation medicine and his important contribution to safety in international civil aviation.


A special Committee of the ICAO Council obtains nominations for the Award from the Organization's 189 Member States, from institutions, or from individuals. The Committee then recommends to the ICAO Council for its approval the selected individual or institution whose efforts on behalf of civil aviation are considered to be most outstanding.

The Council of ICAO at the 14th meeting of its 168th Session, on 14 March 2003, decided to reduce the frequency of the Edward Warner Award to once every three years, if practicable in conjunction with the regular session of the Assembly of ICAO.

Related article
Pelsser, Albert (2005). ICAO and Dr. Edward Warner. Communiqué, 9(3), 13-15.