The Info List - International Civil Aviation Organization

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International Civil Aviation Organization Organisation de l'aviation civile internationale (in French)

ICAO flag


FORMATION 4 April 1947

TYPE UN specialized agency


, Quebec
, Canada

HEAD Fang Liu Secretary General

WEBSITE www.icao.int

The INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (ICAO) (pronounced /aɪˈkeɪ.oʊ/ ; French : _Organisation de l'aviation civile internationale_, OACI), is a specialized agency of the United Nations . It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. Its headquarters are located in the _Quartier International _ of Montreal
, Quebec
, Canada .

The ICAO Council adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation, its infrastructure, flight inspection , prevention of unlawful interference, and facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation . ICAO defines the protocols for air accident investigation followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation
Convention on International Civil Aviation

The Air Navigation
Commission (ANC) is the technical body within ICAO. The Commission is composed of 19 Commissioners, nominated by the ICAO's contracting states, and appointed by the ICAO Council. Commissioners serve as independent experts, who although nominated by their states, do not serve as state or political representatives. The development of international Standards And Recommended Practices is done under the direction of the ANC through the formal process of ICAO Panels. Once approved by the Commission, standards are sent to the Council, the political body of ICAO, for consultation and coordination with the Member States before final adoption.

ICAO is distinct from other international air transport organizations, like the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association representing airlines ; the Civil Air Navigation
Services Organisation (CANSO), an organization for Air navigation service providers (ANSPs); and the Airports Council International , a trade association of airport authorities .


* 1 History * 2 Statute * 3 Membership * 4 Council

* 5 Standards

* 5.1 Aerodrome
Reference Code

* 6 Registered codes * 7 Regions and regional offices

* 8 Leadership

* 8.1 List of Secretaries General * 8.2 List of Council Presidents

* 9 ICAO and climate change

* 9.1 Agreement on CO2 emissions from international aviation, October 2016

* 10 Investigations of air disasters * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 External links


The forerunner to ICAO was the INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR AIR NAVIGATION (ICAN). It held its first convention in 1903 in Berlin
, Germany but no agreements were reached among the eight countries that attended. At the second convention in 1906, also held in Berlin, 27 countries attended. The third convention, held in London
in 1912 allocated the first radio callsigns for use by aircraft. ICAN continued to operate until 1945.

Fifty-two countries signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation , also known as the Chicago
Convention, in Chicago
, Illinois , on 7 December 1944. Under its terms, a PROVISIONAL INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (PICAO) was to be established, to be replaced in turn by a permanent organization when 26 countries ratified the convention. Accordingly, PICAO began operating on 6 June 1945, replacing ICAN. The 26th country ratified the Convention on 5 March 1947 and, consequently PICAO was disestablished on 4 April 1947 and replaced by ICAO, which began operations the same day. In October 1947, ICAO became an agency of the United Nations
United Nations
linked to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

In April 2013 Qatar
offered to serve as the new permanent seat of the Organization. Qatar
promised to construct a massive new headquarters for ICAO and cover all moving expenses, stating that Montreal
"was too far from Europe and Asia", "had cold winters," was hard to attend due to the refusal of the Canadian government to provide visas in a timely manner, and that the taxes imposed on ICAO by Canada
were too high. According to the _ Globe and Mail _, Qatar's move was at least partly motivated by the pro-Israel foreign policy of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper
. Approximately one month later, Qatar
withdrew its bid after a separate proposal to the ICAO's governing council to move the ICAO triennial conference to Doha was defeated by a vote of 22–14.


The 9th edition of the Convention on International Civil Aviation includes modifications from 1948 up to year 2006. ICAO refers to its current edition of the Convention as the _Statute_, and designates it as ICAO Document 7300/9. The Convention has 19 Annexes that are listed by title in the article Convention on International Civil Aviation
Convention on International Civil Aviation


International Civil Aviation Organization
International Civil Aviation Organization
member states

As of July 2016 , there are 191 ICAO members, consisting of 190 of the 193 UN members (all but Dominica , Liechtenstein , and Tuvalu
), plus the Cook Islands
Cook Islands

Liechtenstein has delegated Switzerland
to implement the treaty to make it applicable in the territory of Liechtenstein.

attended the 38th Session of the ICAO Assembly in 2013, but in 2016 was denied such an invitation (possibly due to political pressure from the People\'s Republic of China
), despite expressions of support from the United States
United States
for Taiwan
to participate. However, the Republic of China
under the name of Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei
is a member of International Air Transport Association .


The Council of ICAO is elected by the Assembly every 3 years and consists of 36 members elected in 3 categories. The present Council was elected on 4 October 2016 at the 39th Assembly of ICAO at Montreal . The structure of the present Council is as follows:

PART I – (States of chief importance in air transport) – Australia*, Brazil*, Canada*, China*, France*, Germany*, Italy*, Japan*, Russian Federation*, United Kingdom*, and the United States*.

PART II – (States which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation) – Argentina*, Colombia, Egypt*, India*, Ireland, Mexico*, Nigeria*, Saudi Arabia*, Singapore*, South Africa*, Spain* and Sweden.

PART III– (States ensuring geographic representation)- Algeria, Cape Verde, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Kenya*, Malaysia*, Panama, Republic of Korea*, Turkey, United Arab Emirates*, United Republic of Tanzania*, and Uruguay.

Note * indicates re-election.


ICAO logo. TOP: ICAO acronym in English, French/Portuguese/Spanish, and Russian. BOTTOM: ICAO acronym in Chinese and Arabic

ICAO also standardizes certain functions for use in the airline industry, such as the Aeronautical Message Handling System (AMHS). This makes it a standards organization .

Each country should have an accessible Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), based on standards defined by ICAO, containing information essential to air navigation . Countries are required to update their AIP manuals every 28 days and so provide definitive regulations, procedures and information for each country about airspace and airports. ICAO's standards also dictate that temporary hazards to aircraft are regularly published using NOTAMs .

ICAO defines an International Standard Atmosphere
International Standard Atmosphere
(also known as ICAO Standard Atmosphere), a model of the standard variation of pressure , temperature , density , and viscosity with altitude in the Earth\'s atmosphere . This is useful in calibrating instruments and designing aircraft.

ICAO standardizes machine-readable passports worldwide. Such passports have an area where some of the information otherwise written in textual form is written as strings of alphanumeric characters, printed in a manner suitable for optical character recognition . This enables border controllers and other law enforcement agents to process such passports quickly, without having to enter the information manually into a computer. ICAO publishes Document 9303 _Machine Readable Travel Documents_, the technical standard for machine-readable passports. A more recent standard is for biometric passports . These contain biometrics to authenticate the identity of travellers. The passport's critical information is stored on a tiny RFID computer chip, much like information stored on smartcards . Like some smartcards, the passport book design calls for an embedded contactless chip that is able to hold digital signature data to ensure the integrity of the passport and the biometric data.

ICAO is active in infrastructure management, including Communication , Navigation
, Surveillance
/ Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) systems, which employ di