Contributing to the creation of a favourable global regulatory environment for the sustainable development of international air transport is an important objective for ICAO. The Organization has developed a comprehensive policy framework and practical guidance for use by States in adapting to the changes in civil aviation and the global environment. ICAO develops and provides policy and guidance material in the areas of aviation infrastructure management, statistics, forecasting and economic analysis. The work in this field also supports the achievement of other ICAO Strategic Objectives, such as in the areas of safety, security and environmental protection.

Currently, five programmes are directly related to this work:
  1. Economic Analyses 
  2. Air Transport Policy and Regulation 
  3. Forecasting 
  4. Infrastructure Management
  5. Statistics

Moreover, under Joint Financing activities, the Organization administers the Danish and Icelandic Joint Financing Agreements. These Agreements are concerned with the provision, in Greenland and in Iceland, of air traffic control, communications and meteorological services, to international flights over the North Atlantic.

Economic Analysis

Studies on regional differences in international airlines operating economics have been conducted to assist States in the assessment of the impact of regulatory change, support environmental planning, assess the effectiveness of measures for the implementation of the Strategic Objectives and support prorating of passenger revenues from interline journeys.
Research is undertaken and guidance to States provided as required on cost/benefit analysis and business cases for planning and implementation of air navigation systems and related systems (including CNS/ATM). Specific economic studies are conducted, as requested. For example, a study was launched in 2008 to assess the present and future demand of civilian licensed aviation personnel and the corresponding training facilities and capacities at global and regional levels. The study aims at estimating if shortages or surpluses are likely to occur over the next twenty years. Formerly, methodological guidelines have been developed to assist States in assessing the economic contribution of civil aviation as a business sector within a given regional/local or national economy in terms of output and employment.

Air Transport Regulation

ICAO's economic policy programme deals mainly with matters relating to the regulation of international air transport and its liberalization. Its activities include:
    • Monitoring and analysing trends and developments;
    • Studying regulatory issues of general importance;
    • Developing policy and guidance material;
    • Dissemination and implementation of policy guidance;
    • Providing advice, guidance and assistance to ICAO member States; and
    • Development and implementation of ICAO policies on taxation of international air transport.


The basic role of this programme is to develop medium- and long-term passenger/freight traffic forecasts, aircraft movement forecasts and other planning parameters enabling the PIRGs and States to optimize decision-making as envisaged in the Global Air Navigation Plan. Servicing or support is also provided to the regional traffic forecasting groups (TFGs). EAP is also providing support to the work of CAEP, through its active participation to the activities of the Forecasting and Economic Analysis Support Group (FESG).  

Infrastructure Management

The basic role of this programme is the development and provision of policy guidance on the economics and management of airports and air navigation services; the development of ICAO policies on user charges, promotion and implementation of relevant ICAO policies and guidance material; and for monitoring regulatory and industry developments and trends, conducting studies and research on related issues.
More specifically, the infrastructure management programme deals with the economic, financial, organizational and managerial aspects of the provision and operation of airports and air navigation services, including issues relating to commercialization and privatization of such entities, relationship between providers and users, cost basis for charges, charging systems, and charges related to security and environmental protection. It collects, analyzes and disseminates information on the financial situation of airports and air navigation services. It also conducts workshops or other informal meetings to assist States, and provides technical support to other bodies inside and outside ICAO on matters of its expertise areas.


This programme, initiated in 1947, collects, processes, analyzes and disseminates civil aviation statistics as required by States and the Organization for an efficient, safe and secure development of civil aviation. It also provides the traffic exposure data necessary to derive trend level indicators related to measuring the implementation levels of ICAO’s Strategic Objectives A — Safety, Enhance global civil aviation safety and C — Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of Air Transport.
The Integrated Statistical Database (ISDB) is a web-enabled database covering historical time-series on air carrier traffic, on-flight origin and destination (OFOD), traffic by flight stage (TFS), air carrier fleet and personnel, air carrier finances, airport traffic, airport finances, en-route facility traffic, en-route facility finances and civil aircraft on register. These data can be purchased by third parties on a request basis by contacting

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