The most important legislative function performed by ICAO is the formulation and adoption of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for international civil aviation. These are incorporated into the 18 technical annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention.
Annex 9 to the Chicago Convention embodies the SARPs and guidance material pertaining specifically to the facilitation of landside formalities for clearance of aircraft and passengers, goods and mail, with respect to the requirements of customs, immigration, public health and agriculture authorities. As such, it provides a frame of reference for planners and managers of international airport operations, describing the obligations of industry as well as the minimum facilities to be provided by governments. In addition, Annex 9 specifies methods and procedures for carrying out clearance operations in such a manner as to achieve compliance with States’ laws while enabling maximum productivity for the air transport operators, airports and government inspection agencies involved.
The SARPs and guidance material that comprise Annex 9 have been developed in consultation with Contracting States. Annex 9 is periodically updated by the Facilitation (FAL) Panel, on which sit 27 experts nominated by member States and industry observers, or the Facilitation Division. The latter is a periodic worldwide conference to which all States are invited to send delegations representing all of the disciplines involved in facilitation, as well as aviation industry groups.
The fifth meeting of the FAL Panel (FALP/5), held in 2008, resulted in a substantial revision of the provisions relating to the facilities and services for aircraft and passengers, goods and mail at international airports and the addition, in Annex 9, of new procedures regulating advance passenger information (API) systems.