ICAO and the International Telecommunication Union


ITU Logo

With headquarters in Geneva, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) or Union internationale des télécommunications (UIT) is the eldest organization in the United Nations UN family still in existence. It was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris on 17 May 1865 and is today the leading UN agency for information and communication technology issues, and the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services. For more than 140 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems and addressed the global challenges of our times.


The need for close working relations between ICAO and ITU was obvious from the coming into being of ICAO, owing to the extensive dependence and ever-increasing demands of civil aviation upon aeronautical telecommunication services. A fruitful co-operation had characterized those relations from the beginning and broadened over the years. 


Annex 10

In 1950, as a modus vivendi governing consultations among the four organizations with the broadest mutual interest in telecommunications matters (i.e. ITU, ICAO, IMO and the proposed Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, IMCO) was approved by ITU’s Administrative Council (during its Fifth Session); following this arrangement, each organization shall (1) invite the others to its conferences or meetings where questions of common interest would be studied; (2) include in the agenda of its conferences and meetings questions submitted by any of the other organizations; (3) keep the others constantly informed of contemplated tasks and programmes believed to be of common interest and supplied with all relevant documents of mutual interest, subject to such measures as might be necessary to protect confidential material; and (4) take all possible steps to facilitate mutual collaboration, including the formation, whenever desirable, of mixed committees comprising technicians of the organizations particularly competent in the matters  under consideration. The first three measures had already been applied by ICAO and ITU for several years before this agreement was resolved.


With ITU's leadership in the creation of international telecommunications networks and standards, close coordination has been assured between ICAO and ITU for the development of certain parts of Annex 10 Aeronautical Telecommunications, so as to align ICAO standards, recommended practices and procedures, and guidance material with the relevant provisions of ITU. This Annex 10 covers three of the most complex and essential elements of international civil aviation. i.e. aeronautical communications, navigation and surveillance. Annex 10 is divided into five volumes:

- Volume I: Radio Navigation Aids;

- Volume II: Communication Procedures;

- Volume III: Communication Systems divided into two parts: Part I: Digital Data Communication Systems and Part II: Voice Communications Systems;

- Volume IV: Surveillance Radar and Collision Avoidance; and

- Volume V: Aeronautical Radio Frequency Spectrum Utilization.


Service cover sent by ITU to ICAO Chief, Library

Postmarked on 20 July 1956. A.D. Thiessen was the first Chief, Library at ICAO.

When ICAO came into being, active measures were taken to ensure that the Organization had at its disposal an aeronautical and general library appropriate to the needs of the staff and national representatives. The object had been to acquire a collection of basic reference books and current publications on subjects within the Organization’s field of interest.


Service cover sent by ITU to ICAO Secretary General

Postmarked on 20 February 1962


Service cover sent by ITU to ICAO Chief of Personnel Branch

Postmarked on 25 September 1970 - UIT/ITU Slogan