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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN Specialized Agency, is the global forum for civil aviation. ICAO works to achieve its vision of safe, secure and sustainable development of civil aviation through cooperation amongst its member States.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention), was signed on 07-Dec-1944 by 52 States. Pending ratification of the Convention by 26 States, the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO) was established. ICAO came into being on 04-Apr-1947. In October of the same year, ICAO became a specialized agency of the United Nations linked to Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The Preamble to the Convention on International Civil Aviation sets forth the purpose of ICAO:

  • WHEREAS the future development of international civil aviation can greatly help to create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world, yet its abuse can become a threat to the general security; and
  • WHEREAS it is desirable to avoid friction and to promote that co-operation between nations and peoples upon which the peace of the world depends;
  • THEREFORE, the undersigned governments having agreed on certain principles and arrangements in order that international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner and that international air transport services may be established on the basis of equality of opportunity and operated soundly and economically.


1,263 total articles


36 total articles


Emissions trading: will Europe’s concession to ICAO be just hot air? Airlines hold their breath

12-Sep-2013 10:57 PM

The European Union has proposed to limit until 2020 its Emissions Trading System to that part of an intercontinental flight that operates within EU airspace, in an attempt to persuade the UN agency ICAO to reach a global solution to the carbon emissions problem. The next three-yearly ICAO assembly, starting in Montreal on 24-Sep-2013, is expected to include a resolution about the use of global market-based measures aimed at reducing aviation’s emissions.

IATA’s annual meeting in Jun-2013 backed a plan based on airlines offsetting their emissions after 2020 by purchasing so-called carbon permits (which allow the purchaser to emit carbon dioxide, CO2) from other sectors that manage to reduce pollution. IATA represents 240 airlines globally, but there remain significant hurdles to a global agreement since, ultimately, it is governments (through ICAO) that will have to agree any measures.

ETS and the airlines: the EU’s looming enforcement nightmare

8-Nov-2012 4:44 PM

The framers of the EU’s Directive containing its Emissions Trading System (ETS) for aviation were well aware it would generate controversy. It has.

Almost every major nation has vociferously opposed it; even Russia, China and the US are for once wholeheartedly united in their opposition. China and India have banned their airlines from participating in the ETS and similar legislation has passed both houses in the USA. A 26 country “Coalition of the Unwilling” has formally agreed a series of retaliatory measures should EU states impose sanctions for non-compliance. The outcome could be bloody and very costly to airlines and economies alike, the last thing the industry needs at this time.

The real crunch comes when enforcement of the ETS is attempted. Individual EU member states must be the ones to fine and even, as directed by the Commission, suspend services by foreign airlines. This means each EU state and its airlines risks being picked off by retaliation from the offending country.

The first of a two part report, this article reviews the practical implications in implementing the EU's penalties for non-compliance with its controversial ETS rules. Part II will look at the ironies of the EU's focus on following the tabloid herd, while failing to get its own house in order.

The EU ETS: Desperately seeking compromise to avoid trade wars; roles for ICAO and the EU

27-Mar-2012 1:06 PM

As tensions remain high over the European Commission’s imposition of an environmental tax on air services operating in European airspace, the threat of confrontation grows. Problematically, at a time when the airline industry is confronted by a startling array of cost and competitive challenges, disputes of this kind are often not simply confined to the immediate issue and can easily overflow into other government relations.

Talk of suspending overflight rights and other forms of direct retaliation have seemingly awoken European diplomats to the importance that foreign governments attach to this issue. But the EU may have painted itself into a corner. As IATA CEO Tony Tyler said in India in mid Mar-2012, “No one wants a trade war. But the prospects are growing more likely…..Why? Because non-European states…see the intention to tax non-EU airlines for emissions over non-EU territory as an attack on their sovereignty.”

Looking for a compromise is clearly a useful interim strategy. Last month, Mr Tyler's predecessor at IATA, Giovanni Bisignani, offered a simple suggestion which both offers a bit of breathing space and allows a little more time for the global aviation organisation, ICAO, to lay down concrete multilateral goals for industry responses to concerns about climate change.

Worldwide airport investor community relatively upbeat - ACI Economics & Finance report, Part 1

14-Mar-2012 2:45 PM

The fourth Airports Council International Economics and Finance conference took place in London, UK, between 07-Mar-2012 and 09-Mar-2012, attracting some 250 speakers, panellists and delegates and with a notably strong representation from Africa. Despite the continuing economic downturn, especially in Europe, the conference, which covered a wide range of topics from ‘the State of the Industry’ via several sessions on airport investment and performance management to airport competition and performance management, was generally upbeat, at least for the long term. Some of the major issues discussed are highlighted below, with the remainder to follow in a later article.

Rising to the environmental challenge to aviation: The need for a global solution

9-Jan-2012 4:43 PM

In this paper, Vijay Poonoosamy, chair of IATA’s Industry Affairs Committee, examines some of the issues around the European Union’s controversial Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), most notably the need for a global system that will actually serve to reduce emissions – rather than increase international conflict.

Even if aviation accounts for 2% of man-made CO2 emissions and even though today’s aircraft are 70% more fuel efficient than 40 years ago, we know that we are part of a growing global problem and that we must thus be part of the global solution.

Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcano: Europe’s new airspace management approach put to the test

25-May-2011 12:20 PM

The eruption of Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcanco could be the acid test for EUROCONTROL and European air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and the new rules and measures put in place after the last Icelandic volcanic eruption in 2010. A little more than 13 months on from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Europe’s passengers and airlines will be hoping that the reaction from Europe’s airspace authorities is much more measured than it was in 2010.

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