AIRAC

 

Aeronautical information is constantly changing: airspace structures and routes are revised, navigation aids change, SIDs and STARs are amended, runway and taxiway information changes. It is essential, for both efficiency and safety, that Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, Air Traffic Flow Managers, Flight Management Systems and Aviation Charts all have the same information working from the same information base.

 

This can only be achieved by following the AIRAC system.

 

What is AIRAC?

 

AIRAC stands for Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control and steps from the Annex 15 - Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) document and defines a series of common dates and an associated standard aeronautical information publication procedure for States.

 

In short it defines that in all instances, information provided under the AIRAC system shall be distributed by the AIS unit at least 42 days in advance of the effective date with the objective of reaching recipients at least 28 days in advance of the effective date. Whenever major changes are planned and where additional notice is desirable and practicable, a publication date of at least 56 days in advance of the effective date should be used.

 

Three dates are to be remembered from this:

 

   

Effective Date
Date at which changes take effect.
Publication Date
Date at which the AIS organization sends out the information.
–> Should be at least 42 days (56 for major changes) before effective date.
Reception Date
Date at which the user should receive the publications.
–> Should be at 28 days before the effective date.

 

 

The two weeks between Publication date and Reception date is basically to allow for postal distribution.

  

The AIRAC cycle

 

The AIRAC cycle was adopted in 1964 and further improved over the years.

 

Key are the worldwide effective dates with 28 days intervals (e.g. 4 August 2005, 1 September 2005, 29 September 2005, ...). Effective days are always on a Thursday.

 

It may look indeed like a long period, 28 days, or even 56, but it should be understood that aeronautical information changes (mostly published through so called AIRAC Amendments) require:

 
      1. Changes to local systems which includes interpreting, re-typing and re-coding the information.

      2. Verification and Correction as publications are unfortunately seldom perfect.

      3. Validation against other data; Flight Plans are just one example.

      4. Re-distribution. Hereby think of Charts and Flight Management Systems to a fleet which can be anywhere in the world.

 

The AIRAC effective dates

 

The AIRAC effective dates are published in ICAO Doc 8126, the Aeronautical Information Services Manual, Table 2-1. Schedule of AIRAC effective dates'. They are also referred to in most national AIPs when providing the data delivery dates for data originators. 

 

Schedule of AIRAC effective dates, 2015-2029

   
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
08 January
07 January
05 January
04 January
03 January
05 February
04 February
02 February
01 February
31 January
05 March
03 March
02 March
01 March
28 February
02 April
31 March
30 March
29 March
28 March
30 April
28 April
27 April
26 April
25 April
28 May
26 May
25 May
24 May
23 May
25 June
23 June
22 June
21 June
20 June
23 July
21 July
20 July
19 July
18 July
20 August
18 August
17 August
16 August
15 August
17 September
15 September
14 September
13 September
12 September
15 October
13 October
12 October
11 October
10 October
12 November
10 November
09 November
08 November
07 November
10 December
08 December
07 December
06 December
05 December
 
 
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
02 January
28 January
27 January
26 January
25 January
30 January
25 February
24 February
23 February
22 February
27 February
25 March
24 March
23 March
21 March
26 March
22 April
21 April
20 April
18 April
23 April
20 May
19 May
18 May
16 May
21 May
17 June
16 June
15 June
13 June
18 June
15 July
14 July
13 July
11 July
16 July
12 August
11 August
10 August
08 August
13 August
09 September
08 September
07 September
05 September
10 September
07 October
06 October
05 October
03 October
08 October
04 November
03 November
02 November
31 October
05 November
02 December
01 December
30 November
28 November
03 December
30 December
29 December
28 December
26 December
31 December
 
 
2025
2026
2027
2028
2029
23 January
22 January
21 January
20 January
18 January
20 February
19 February
18 February
17 February
15 February
20 March
19 March
18 March
16 March
15 March
17 April
16 April
15 April
13 April
12 April
15 May
14 May
13 May
11 May
10 May
12 June
11 June
10 June
08 June
07 June
10 July
09 July
08 July
06 July
05 July
07 August
06 August
05 August
03 August
02 August
04 September
03 September
02 September
31 August
30 August
02 October
01 October
30 September
28 September
27 September
30 October
29 October
28 October
26 October
25 October
27 November
26 November
25 November
23 November
22 November
25 December
24 December
23 December
21 December
20 December
 
 

 'Freeze' dates

 

Each recipient has an internal date, called 'freeze' date or Cut-off date, before the effective date after which he can not accept changes anymore. For example, Aircraft Flight Management Systems need the data often 20 days before the effective date to allow for the information re-coding, information uploading and distribution. 

 

Christmas and New Year

 

ICAO Annex 15 - Chapter 6 is clear: "The use of the date in the AIRAC cycle which occurs between 21 December and 17 January inclusive should be avoided as an effective date for the introduction of significant changes under the AIRAC system".

 

And in ICAO Doc 8126 – Chapter 4, because of reduced staffing and increased postal delays, "it is recommended that the AIRAC cycle date occurring in the 28-day period from 21 December to 17 January (both dates included) no longer be used as an AIRAC effective date for the introduction of significant operational changes. States experiencing similar problems during other holiday periods may wish to adopt a comparable system".

 

 
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