Strategic Objective — Safety — Policy and Standardization

Policy and Standardization

Safety Monitoring


New and Emerging Activities

Emergency Response

Technical Cooperation and Assistance Projects (TCB)


Policy and Standardization


Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP)


The Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) has significantly changed since its introduction in 1997 and has evolved through continuous consultation and review. The 2014-2016 Edition was published in 2013 and included GASP objectives for States to be achieved through the implementation of an effective safety oversight system, a State safety programme (SSP) and safety capabilities necessary to support future aviation systems.


An update of the GASP is currently under way. The intent is for the 2017-2019 Edition to maintain the framework, objectives and safety performance enablers of the 2014-2016 Edition while enhancing the content to facilitate implementation and to strengthen the link between the GASP and the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP).


Regional Aviation Safety Groups (RASGs)


RASGs facilitate the exchange of best practices, cooperation and collaboration and continue to build upon the achievements of States, safety organizations and subregional organizations such as the Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programmes (COSCAPs) and Regional Safety Oversight Organizations (RSOOs).


RASGs serve as a cooperative forum integrating regional, subregional, national and industry efforts to enhance aviation safety. RASGs develop and implement work programmes which support a regional framework for the management of safety on the basis of the GASP. RASGs are an integral part of the GASP strategy, and the two main objectives of the RASGs are:  


​1) ​to support the regional implementation of the GASP by ensuring that all stakeholders work together in coordination and cooperation; and
2)​ ​to lead the coordination of regional GASP implementation efforts by identifying, analysing, monitoring and promoting regional safety implementation activities by States and regional stakeholders.

On this basis, maturing RASG activities support the harmonization of all initiatives undertaken to address aviation safety issues on a regional basis. They provide a formal reporting channel allowing ICAO to monitor GASP and regional safety activities, coordinate their respective analysis and monitoring efforts, and facilitate the implementation of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).


During 2015, each RASG produced and distributed a regional aviation safety report to further harmonize and drive the development and sharing of mitigating measures to improve aviation safety. The reports identified risks specific to each region and the data confirmed that runway safety, Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) and Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) continue to be the top three aviation safety risks.


Using the data presented by these reports, each RASG identified safety enhancement initiatives (SEIs) to mitigate these top three risks and other emerging risks. Each SEI was assigned to a State or industry ‘champion’ which analysed available information and developed detailed implementation and action plans to mitigate a specific risk. In addition, RASGs issued 17 safety advisories to disseminate data, information and best practices resulting from various safety enhancement initiatives.


A persistent challenge for the RASGs is the slow pace of SEIs implementation and the low level of participation by Member States in RASG activities. Harmonization of all activities undertaken to address aviation safety issues on a regional basis, and eliminate the duplication of effort through the establishment of more cooperative regional safety programmes, are key priorities for the RASGs.


Second High-level Safety Conference


The Second High-level Safety Conference (HLSC 2015) was held in Montréal on 2-5 February. The conference was attended by 714 participants from 120 Member States and observers representing 35 international organizations.


The conference addressed various topics covering the following three major themes:  


​1) ​review of the current situation;
​2) ​future approach to the management of aviation safety; and
​3) ​facilitation of increased regional cooperation in the management of aviation safety.


HLSC 2015 developed 57 recommendations published in the Montréal Declaration on Planning for Aviation Safety Improvement and in the Second High-level Safety Conference 2015 Report (Doc 10046).


HLSC 2015 recommendations, addressed by existing resources, were endorsed by the Council during its 205th Session. Those not addressed by existing resources are subject to consideration in the context of all other competing demands as part of the discussions on the ICAO budget for the 2017-2018-2019 triennium.


Enhancing protection of accident and incident investigation records


The 38th Session of the Assembly instructed the Council, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the Safety Information Protection Task Force (SIP TF) and further work informed by the recommendations of the SIP TF, to take such steps as necessary to ensure meaningful progress towards the development of new and/or amended provisions on the protection of accident and incident records in Annex 13 — Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, and related guidance material, before the next ordinary session of the Assembly. Accordingly, the Secretariat established the Group of Experts on Protection of Accident and Incident Records (GEPAIR) in April 2014 to finalize the recommendations of the SIP TF.


Timely recovery of flight data recordings for investigations


In response to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH 370 in March 2014, the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) and the Concept Of Operations (CONOPS) were developed to ensure that these types of events would not happen again.


During 2015, work was progressed to develop provisions in Annex 6 — Operation of Aircraft for tracking and locating aeroplanes in distress, ensuring timely availability of flight recorder data to assist accident investigations.


Remotely-piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)


Demand for use of RPAS continues to grow dramatically around the globe. Regulatory authorities and air navigation services providers are facing increasing pressure from RPAS operators for access to airspace, while manufacturers and related industries are demanding clear regulations for certification and operation.


The RPAS Panel (RPASP) continued its work to develop the regulatory framework that will facilitate access of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) into non-segregated airspace while maintaining the existing level of safety for manned aviation. In 2015, the RPASP held two full meetings and several working group meetings.


The Manual on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) (Doc 10019) was published in March and is available in all six ICAO languages. The manual serves to educate States and industry on RPAS-related matters while SARPs are being developed.


To familiarize States and stakeholders with the work under way, ICAO hosted the first global RPAS Symposium on 23-25 March. The event was attended by more than 600 participants from a broad range of fields and identified two key outcomes: the need to assist States by providing guidance applicable to small unmanned aircraft systems and the need to bring together the traditional aviation and new ‘drone’ technology cultures.  

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