The International Civil Aviation Day


By Resolution A29-1, the 29th Session of the ICAO Assembly, held in 1992, declared 7 December of each year, starting in 1994, as International Civil Aviation Day to highlight and advance the benefits of international civil aviation. The 7 December 1994 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as the Chicago Convention) at Chicago, Il, USA. Pursuant to an ICAO initiative and with the assistance of the Canadian Government, on 6 December 1996 by Resolution 51-33, at its 75th plenary meeting, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 7 December as International Civil Aviation Day and urged governments, as well as national, regional, international and intergovernmental organizations, to take appropriate steps to observe it. Since then, 7 December is listed as an official UN day. The purpose of the global celebration is to generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation in the social and economic development of States, and of the role of ICAO in promoting the safety, efficiency, and regularity of international air transport.


This practice is at variance with the United Nations Day, which is celebrated each year on 24 October, i.e. the day on which the United Nations came into existence (on 24 October 1945).


Costa Rica

17 December 1940

Pan-American Aviation Day

Every year, the ICAO Council adopts a theme, which is launched on 7 December, and then used by ICAO’s Member States over the following twelve months to promote international civil aviation. The 2007 theme was "Global Air Transport — a driver of sustainable economic, social and cultural development".


Several countries or regions already celebrated an aviation day prior to ICAO’s initiative to launch the International Civil Aviation Day. A few examples are given herewith. President F.D. Roosevelt had proclaimed 17 December 1940 the Pan-American Aviation Day; in commemoration of this day, Costa Rica issued a set of overprinted stamps. The Civil Aviation Council of Arab States (CACAS, the organization preceding the Arab Civil Aviation Commission, ACAC), at its 11th Annual Session held in Baghdad, Irak from 1 to 10 December 1973, adopted a resolution to celebrate an Arab Civil Aviation Day every year on 1 December; two countries (Qatar and Syria) issued stamps to commemorate this day.


It to be noted that, according to the U.S. Code, the President of the United States may issue each year a proclamation to designate 17 December (anniversary date of the first flight by the Wright Brothers) of each year as Pan-American Aviation Day and to issue a proclamation calling upon all officials of the Government, Governors of the States, possessions, and all citizens to participate in the observance of this day to further and stimulate interest in aviation in the American countries as an important stimulus to the further development of more rapid communications and a cultural development between the nations of the Western Hemisphere.


Along with the 50th anniversary celebrations, ICAO issued a special cover for the first coordinated celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day on 7 December 1994. This philatelic cover paid tribute to the founders of ICAO and specially to the Honourable Adolf A. Berle, Jr., U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Chairman of the American Delegation and President of the International Civil Aviation Conference, by quoting a sentence of his closing address on 7 December 1944 at the Final Plenary Session in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel, Chicago, Illinois. The quotation reads as follows: “As a result of the work of these and many other men, when we leave this Conference we can say to our airmen throughout the world that they can go out and fly their craft in peaceful service”.


The following year in 1995, Israel issued a souvenir leaf for the International Civil Aviation Day, showing the tail of an El Al Airlines Boeing 747, an early aircraft in the background, and the emblem of the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA). The stamp on this card (issued on 9 July 1990) is Michel #2 (in the section of automated stamps of the Michel catalogue) produced by the Klussendorf ATM machine (value S1.00, light grey, no machine number printed); it shows the stag, emblem of the Postal Authority, and the Star of David. The theme of the 1995 celebration was: "The Aeroplane in our Lives". Israel souvenir leaves were produced for the first time in 1988. Issues are commissioned by private companies or organizations to mark special events, and bear postage stamps as authorized by the Postal Authority. In this case, the CAA of Israel required the printing of 2010 souvenir leaves (see number at the bottom centre of the picture). Ten souvenir leaves were donated to the Postal Archives and the balance was sold to the public.


Right after the proclamation of 7 December as International Civil Aviation Day, several countries took initiative to create their National Aviation Day and issue stamps or special postmarks accordingly to celebrate this event, i.e. Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia.


On 7 December 1999, Kuwait released a set of 3 stamps to celebrate the International Civil Aviation Day. The theme of that year was: "International Civil Aviation - Promoting Global Friendship and Understanding". This issue is the only one in the ICAO collection showing the third and current official emblem of ICAO.


ICAO designed a postcard for the celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day at ICAO on 7 December 2000; the theme was: "Implementing SARPS - the Key to Aviation Safety and Efficiency". All ICAO staff members received a sample of this postcard and were expected to mail it from countries outside Canada to the Public Information Office at Headquarters, with a view to a draw prizes on 7 December 2001 among those who had sent back their card. A lapel pin was prepared and sold by the ICAO Staff Association Boutique for the celebration of this International Civil Aviation Day. It reproduces the same design as on the postcard.


One Hundred Years of Powered, Controlled and Sustained Flight was the theme for the 2002 edition of the International Civil Aviation Day. The Public Information Office (PIO) at ICAO printed special bookmarks to commemorate this day.


The Greening of Flight — maximizing compatibility between safe and orderly development of civil aviation and the quality of the environment was the theme for the 2005 edition of the International Civil Aviation Day. Kuwait printed posters to commemorate this day.



5 October 1994

As regards to the 2007 Bolivian issue, it is to be noted that there is a mismatch between the day of celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day (7 December) and the actual issue day (10 December). The Bs8.50 value of this issue shows for the first time in the ICAO collection an Airbus A380, the double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, an EADS subsidiary. The largest passenger airliner in the world in 2008, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight on 25 October 2007 from Singapore to Sidney with Singapore Airlines. The aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX during much of its development phase. It is to be noted that, within the ICAO collection, Singapore had issued in 1994 a set of four stamps reflecting the progressive, high‑tech and futuristic nature of the aviation industry. The 35-c value of that set features an aircraft of the future, an Airbus A3XX, a double-decker plane; however, although the philatelic notice mentions Boeing 747‑X, the design of the aircraft on this stamp seems to be closer to the preliminary design specifications of the Airbus project.


Every five years, coinciding with ICAO anniversaries (2014/2019/2024/2029/etc.), the ICAO Council establishes a special anniversary theme for the International Civil Aviation Day. Between these anniversary years, the Council representatives select a single theme for the full four-year intervening period. For 2015-2018 inclusive, the Council has selected the following theme: Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind (NCLB). Under its ‘No Country Left Behind’ programme, ICAO is working with great determination to raise global awareness on the fundamental importance of the effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Policies, which together support the enhanced safety, efficiency, security, economic development and environmental protection of the international aviation system. This theme is reflected in the commemorative cover shown here-after.





Qatar - 1 December 1974 - Arab Civil Aviation Day


Syria - 11 December 1990 - Arab Civil Aviation Day

Note that the vertical text on the left-side reads as follows:

ARAB CIVIL FLYING DAY – 1th DECEMBER; it should be spelled:


Design and date errors are combined on this issue.


7 December 1994

Special cover issued for the first coordinated celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day


Israel - 7 December 1995

Souvenir leaf issued for the International Civil Aviation Day


Thailand - 13 January 1996 - National Aviation Day


Mexico - 20 January 1996 - National Aviation Day


Indonesia - 9 April 1999 - National Aviation Day

Douglas Dakota DC-3, registered RI-001 and named Seulawah.

ICAO 50th Anniversary stamp.


Kuwait - 7 December 1999

First Day Cover with the set of 3 stamps celebrating

the International Civil Aviation Day with theme: Promoting Global Friendship and Understanding.



Canada, Montréal. Postcard and pin - 7 December 2000.

Celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day.

ICAO emblem, paper airplanes and stylized men, symbolizing that ICAO’s work is based on people.

The theme was: Implementing ICAO SARPs - the key to aviation safety and efficiency.



ICAO - 7 December 2002

Special bookmark prepared by ICAO Public Information Office. The theme of that year was: One Hundred Years of Powered, Controlled and Sustained Flight.


Poster issued by the Pietersburg International Airport, in the South African province of Limporo. For 60 Years … Setting the Standards for International Civil Aviation was the theme of the 2003 edition of the International Civil Aviation Day.


Kuwait - 7 December 2005

Poster commemorating the 2005 International Civil Aviation Day with theme: The Greening of Flight — Maximizing compatibility between safe and orderly development of civil aviation and the quality of the environment.


Bolivia - 10 December 2007

First Day Cover with the set of 2 stamps celebrating the International Civil Aviation Day with theme: Global Air Transport — a driver of sustainable economic, social and cultural development.


This issue of the Philippines (7 December 2009) commemorated the 2009 International Civil Aviation Day with its theme: 65 Years of empowering the global community through aviation. The Philippines highlighted ICAO’s contribution to the global community by showing the emblems of bodies of the country and organizations of the world, which work in direct relationship with their Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).


Turkey - 7 December 2011 - Commemorative cover celebrating the 2011 International Civil Aviation Day (Dünya Sivil Havacılık Günü) with theme:

Assistance and Cooperation for Globally Sustainable Air Transport.

The stamp (part of a set of 4 stamps) in the upper-right corner was issued on 27 May 2009 for the 70th anniversary of the Turkish Ministry of Transport and Communications, to which the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) reports; the stamp depicts: package delivery, mail, aircraft.

 ICAO and Turkish DGCA emblems on the cachet.


USA - 7 December 2012

Commemorative cover celebrating the International Civil Aviation Day.

Computer generated First Day Cover by COVERSCAPE and cancelled at Sagamore Beach, MA on 7 December 2012 (only 12 were made). The Council of ICAO had approved Aviation: Your Reliable Connection to the Word  as the theme for the 2012 year’s worldwide celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day on 7 December 2012 and throughout the year 2013.


Guyana’s unveiling of a sheet of 4 stamps: Women in Aviation on 7 December 2014 (International Civil Aviation Day).

Shown on the picture: Robeson Benn (on the left), Minister of Public Works, along with Paula McAdam and Sandra Persaud unveiling the stamp.

Paula McAdam (on the left) was the first female Air Traffic Controller in Guyana and has spent over 40 years in this field; Sandra Persaud (on the right) was the first female in Airport Management in Guyana.


Perforated sheet of 4 stamps.





First Day Covers – Dated 7 December 2014.


7 December 2014 - Guyana celebrated the International Civil Aviation Day with the launching of a new souvenir sheet and first day covers in honour of women in aviation at a ceremony held at Colgrain House, Camp Street, Georgetown.

The 2014 observance was held under the theme Cooperating on Global Aviation Progress: 70 years of the Chicago Convention. This theme recognised the significant contributions that ICAO has made since its establishment, and the strengthening and success of fostering cooperation on aviation transport worldwide.


Guyana's coat of arms establishes the value the country places on its natural resources to spearhead its economic future. It is constructed with a white shield bordered on the sides by jaguars, an Indian headdress at the top, and the country's motto inscribed on a red and gold ribbon at the bottom.

The shield is divided by three blue, wavy lines. At the bottom is the hoatzin, the national bird. At the top is the Victoria Regia water lily, the national flower. One of the jaguars holds a pickaxe, representing the valuable bauxite mining. The other holds a sugarcane stalk representing the importance of sugarcane farming. Representative of gemstone mining is the diamond found in the Indian headdress. Last, but not least, is the national motto on the ribbon, ONE PEOPLE, ONE NATION, ONE DESTINY, a slogan meant to represent the unity of the various races and regions of the country.

The design was adapted by the Royal College of Arms in England from three Guyana’s artists.




7 December 2015 – International Civil Aviation Day

This cover highlights the single theme for the full four-year period 2015-2018 for the International Civil Aviation Day: Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind.