International Aviation Trust Framework (IATF)

​Why ICAO?

Trust is what civil aviation runs on and has always been at the core of what ICAO does. Passengers trust that they can safely fly, operators trust that safety systems will meet their needs, and States trust ICAO to provide a forum for harmonized global standards that enable a safe, secure and efficient civil aviation system. This trust depends on the safe and reliable flow of information between all these parties, and it’s fair to say that the internet has revolutionized the way information is managed on a global scale.

On top of this, new and emerging entrants to the aviation system like drones, air taxis and commercial space operations were “born digital” and rely on the internet for their basic operations. As legacy aviation gradually transitions and takes more advantage of the internet’s power and reach, some of its limitations make aviation-centric information exchange extremely challenging. This, combined with the rapid, tech-focused pace of the new entrants clashing with legacy aviation’s slow and methodical approach, is why ICAO is developing an International Aviation Trust Framework (IATF).

Problem Statement


Aviation traditionally used meticulously designed, purpose-built systems to exchange information between parties. In the early days, this was necessary simply because a global communications infrastructure did not exist and had to be made from scratch. The advantages were that these custom systems met all of aviation's unique safety and operational needs and ultimately resulted in a seamless sky where anyone could fly anywhere. Aviation information needs to safely flow between parties and the information package needs to be accurate. But the internet was never designed with these requirements in mind. It only ensures that information can flow between any two points across any path, but offers no guarantees on the reliability of those paths or that the information can’t be modified while in transit. Solutions to these problems exist, however they are not aviation specific and without a standardized approach to how they are implemented the aviation system will ultimately end up with a disjointed patchwork of systems that cannot easily communicate with each other, despite being built on the same technologies. The new entrants described above will continue to roll out their operational capabilities at a pace that traditional aviation cannot keep up with, leading to even more divergence. Not only does this divergence increase the complexity and cost of connecting these systems together, but it can also impact the safety of operations and expose aviation to new cyber-related threats that were not prioritized before.

This is where ICAO’s work on the IATF enters the picture. ICAO is the ideal forum for aviation stakeholders to come together and agree on a common destination that all stakeholders, new and old, can target irrespective of their implementation speed, develop standards and harmonized procedures that allow for seamless information exchange between all parties and maintain our seamless sky.  

International Aviation Trust Framework is a set of policies, requirements and best practices that will enable trusted, resilient and secured ground-ground, air-ground, and air-air exchange of digital information among all current and prospective aviation stakeholders.

 IATF Major Benefits

Economic and Operational Benefits:

  • As an enabler of automation and digitalization of processes the IATF can support airports, airlines and other parties of the Aviation Ecosystem to reduce reliance on manual processes, addressing certain challenges such as staff shortages.
  • Minimizing costs by eliminating unnecessary and redundant bilateral trust and information security agreements. As each bilateral agreement is signed to enable point-to-point connectivity, the multiple legal, policy, and trust mapping exercises required to enable seamless interoperability between different stakeholders are unsustainable.

Increasing cyber resilience:

The international aviation trust framework allows for increased cyber resilience through the use of processes and procedures to assure the identity of users and the integrity and availability, and confidentiality, when necessary, of systems as well as the information being stored, processed and exchanged. These capabilities ensure an increased level of cyber resilience and help in reducing the currently over-exposed cyber-attack surface of most new and legacy aviation-centric systems.

Interoperability:

The international aviation trust framework will provide the ability for any application to securely communicate with any other application regardless of which organization or system the application belongs to and whether the applications are airborne or on the ground.

Since there are varying performance requirements across different applications, unmanned aircraft system applications, manned aircraft operation system applications, airport applications and maintenance applications, among others; service providers will be able to configure their services to support different network performance requirements such as availability, bandwidth, latency, guaranteed delivery, resilience and security.

 IATF Core Principles

  • State/National sovereignty is preserved within the IATF.
  • The integrity of aviation information is assured.
  • Policies are applied consistently across the membership.

 IATF Meetings


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