Global Priorities — All Strategic Objectives — No Country Left Behind Initiatives — Implementation



Effective Implementation of SARPs — Addressing the low response rate by Member States to ICAO State letters


The 39th Session of the ICAO Assembly (A39-21 refers) discussed the issue of increasing the response rate by States to State letters and agreed on a set of actions. To that end, in 2017 ICAO took the following action:


​•​A registry was implemented in the ICAO Secretariat for continuous tracking of the status of replies.
​•​Staff in Headquarters and the Regional Offices were provided training and issued instructions on the use of the system with a view to providing assistance to States in order to increase responses.
​•​The format of State letters was reviewed, and based on an analysis of letters issued in the past, the Secretariat began working on a proposal to reduce by 30 per cent the number of State letters issued, by developing other means of communication with States.


The response rate to State letters is also tracked through a Corporate Key Performance Indicator (CKPI) under the thematic area of “Stakeholder Management”. Letters are increasingly receiving more than 60 State responses. In 2015 the peak response rate was 65 States, while in 2017 the highest number of responses to a State letter (on proposed amendments) was 78. While the response rate to State letters on proposals for amendments to Annexes and Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) did not significantly change in 2017, remaining overall at around 28 per cent, other types of State letters have had significant response rates. However, ICAO does not currently have sufficient data on these types of State letters to calculate a trend.


Implementation strategies


The first Safety and Air Navigation Implementation Symposium (SANIS) was held in Montréal from 13 to 15 December. As a precursor to the Thirteenth Air Navigation Conference (AN-Conf/13), it provided a significant opportunity to define and discuss future ICAO implementation strategies which should be based on a top-down, project-oriented approach based on the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP), the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) and Basic Building Blocks (BBBs) requirements ensuring that the plans for the regions are coherent, coordinated and prioritized.


Regional and State implementation projects should be linked to the No Country Left Behind (NCLB) and the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDGs) initiatives to showcase aviation projects as major economic and social drivers for States and to facilitate the allocation of necessary resources.


Technical Assistance Programme


The Aviation Safety Implementation Assistance Partnership (ASIAP) platform continued to enable the coordination and collaboration between partners on assistance activities to promote transparency, ensure effectiveness of assistance, and reduce duplication of efforts. In 2017, the ASIAP partnership expanded to include the Russian Federation, South Africa, Togo, and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC).


ICAO developed an ASIAP prioritization tool to assist ICAO and ASIAP Partners to identify States and areas prioritized for technical assistance. A database tool was also developed to share information on technical assistance and cooperation projects that are being implemented by ASIAP Partners. Additional information on ASIAP can be found on the ICAO public website at ASIAP.


AFI Plan


From its start in 2008, the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan) has contributed to the great improvement of aviation safety in the African Region. The redoubling of AFI Plan efforts and increasing of its capacity continued in 2017 to provide further assistance to States in need in conjunction with technical work programmes expanded in 2013 to include air navigation services (ANS), aerodromes and ground aids (AGA), and aircraft accident and incident investigation (AIG).


The major achievements in 2017 include: Significant Safety Concern (SSC) States decreased to two from the four SSC States at the beginning of the year; 29 AFI States achieved more than 60 per cent overall effective implementation (EI) of the safety oversight system under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP); and 24 per cent of international airports were certified. The AFI Plan has proven to be an effective way of enhancing aviation safety in the Region, and it is anticipated that more States will benefit leading to positive EI results and robust safety oversight systems.


ICAO Civil Aviation Authority Tools (ICAAT)


A review of ICAO services offered to civil aviation authorities has led to the development of ICAO Civil Aviation Authority Tools (ICAAT) to facilitate day-to-day operations for primary stakeholders in the aviation community, namely Member States and airline operators. This new ICAO concept will provide key services through a common network facilitating data exchange for common operations.


A principle element of the ICAAT is the Data Network for Aviation (DNA). The DNA establishes a single interface for users to provide and manage necessary data which can then be utilized for any number of subsequent services provided. This will enable different stakeholders to interact at their discretion, achieving day-to-day operations as required, while maintaining the integrity and security of their own information. Given that the acquisition and management of electronic data is essential, the DNA will avoid duplication of effort and reduce the burden on the aviation community when it comes to the provision of information.


​•​The Aircraft Registration Network


Overhaul of the existing Aircraft Registration System (ARS) is a priority for electronic services and is driven by: i) Article 21 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation relating to the provision by States of registration data; and ii) the 39th Session of the Assembly which called on ICAO to take a leading role in facilitating the registration and identification of all remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), including small-scale, publically available drones.


As a result, the new Aircraft Registration Network (ARN) will consist of a global digital platform providing information on both manned and unmanned registered aircraft. ICAO will offer turnkey solutions for States, and the ARN will have an interface for States with their own registration systems. This will establish the underlying data for inter-State operability features that benefit the global aviation community (States, operators, the industry and other stakeholders).


​•​The Foreign Operator Applications Tool


Based on lessons learned from the original AOC (Air Operators Certificate) Tool, this service is now known as the Foreign Operator Applications Tool (FOAT). The FOAT facilitates the process for foreign operator applications between operators and States. This brings consistency to the application process ensuring it is in line with ICAO Annex 6 requirements. States will benefit from the dashboard providing useful information for the foreign operator application process (e.g. USOAP results for the State of the Operator). The FOAT will also integrate with existing State systems.


​•​ICAO Home of English Language Proficiency Platform (iHELPP)


ICAO continues to promote the importance of English language proficiency in the aviation community with the two elements of the iHELPP system. Through the Aviation English Language Test Service (AELTS) platform, ICAO offers test service providers (TSPs) an evaluation and validation of their tests to determine the extent to which they are in conformance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on language proficiency. The planned “Gateway” platform will build on this service, enabling pilots and air traffic controllers to seamlessly obtain and authorize the transmission of their results so that aviation authorities, airlines, air navigation service providers and institutions using the system can be assured that the information received meets ICAO SARPs for language proficiency requirements and the Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements (Doc 9835).


ICARD update


ICARD (International Codes and Route Designators) is a database of 230 000 five-letter name-codes (5LNCs) and 16 000 route designators (RDs) required for global air navigation in compliance with Annex 11 — Air Traffic Services, Annex 15 — Aeronautical Information Services, and the Procedures for Air Navigation Services — Aircraft Operations (PANS-OPS). A significant update was made to ICARD to keep the software up to date with current demands which included the roll-out of a new, enhanced ICARD platform to provide system stability, increased processing speeds and a more user-friendly design which will greatly improve efficiency for ICAO and State users. ICARD training was provided to all seven Regional Offices. Meetings will be held in all Regional Offices to define a clear and fair set of rules to resolve duplicated 5LNCs at the global level.


Regional safety management symposiums and workshops


A symposium in Tallinn, co-hosted by the European Commission and the Estonian Presidency of the European Union, provided insights on the effective implementation of State Safety Programmes in support of the GASP objectives. Following the symposium, a one-day workshop was delivered which focused on some practical aspects of safety management implementation.


Workshops on protection of investigation records


Six workshops to assist States in the implementation of Amendment 15 to Annex 13 — Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation were delivered in all ICAO Regions. These workshops provided States with the means and tools to protect investigation records in the custody of accident investigation authorities; prioritize protection of records that are more sensitive in nature, i.e. cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) and airborne image recorders (AIRs); assist States in the designation of the “competent authority” and the administration of “the balancing test”; and assist States with the incorporation into national laws and regulations of protections afforded in paragraph 5.12 of Annex 13.




iMPLEMENT is a data-driven decision-making process aimed at assessing the current status of aviation in States, identifying major problems and solutions available in order to maintain or improve the aviation capability of a State, and evaluating the needs of the aviation system. To support the iMPLEMENT process, a few applications detailed below have been developed during the course of 2017 and are now available on iSTARS.


​•​Solution Centre


The Solution Centre is an online application that generates reports which list findings for USOAP protocol questions (PQs) and provides guidance for the resolution of each of these findings. It is designed to help States address PQ findings with the most fitting solutions available.


The application was launched during the 39th Session of the Assembly. An iSTARS version was developed and tested by ICAO’s South American Regional Office during the course of 2017 and is now available and functional. The concept presents revenue-generating potential.


​•​CAA HR Toolkit


The Human Resources Toolkit for Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA HRT) is another online application on iSTARS that was previewed at the 39th Session of the Assembly. It responds to the needs expressed by States on the scaling of their staff, in particular regarding how many inspectors are needed to address the oversight responsibilities of a State. The CAA HRT is comprised of two applications, the Manpower Planning tool and the Benchmarking tool, complemented by guidance material.


The Manpower Planning tool and the Benchmarking tool were both developed by ICAO during 2017. They are displayed on iSTARS and are functional.


​•​SSP Foundation


The SSP Foundation is a tool designed to help States address the PQs which are considered as the foundation for the implementation of their State Safety Programme (SSP) and to monitor their own progress. This tool will be further enhanced when aligned with the SSP gap analysis tool on iSTARS, allowing States to compare which SSP Foundation PQs are still unsatisfied when conducting their SSP gap analysis, for prioritization.




The Safety Information Monitoring System (SIMS) is a web-based safety data and information system comprised of different applications which generate indicators in support of SSP and safety management systems (SMS), allowing for the exchange and sharing of safety data among SIMS participating States. SIMS also supports the implementation of the GANP and the GASP through its safety data monitoring mechanism.


In 2017, with the coordination of the Regional Offices, the SIMS was presented to States in the South American (SAM), North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC), and Western and Central African (WACAF) Regions. Members States have expressed interest in joining or learning more about the SIMS. In 2018, ICAO will continue to promote the SIMS to the other Regions on the road to achieving an implemented global information exchange platform through SIMS.




Challenges remain regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Security and Facilitation in Africa (AFI SECFAL Plan), due to a lack of funding (despite voluntary contributions by four States), the slow pace of some States in implementing SARPs, and the lack of achieving elements of the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) strategy, including membership in the Public Key Directory (PKD) and the implementation of Advance Passenger Information (API). A progressive annual increase of average effective implementation (EI) of security oversight systems of 3 per cent since 2015 has been noted.


In July 2017, the African Union (AU) endorsed the AFI SECFAL targets and the recruitment of two staff to support the AFI SECFAL Plan.


AFI SECFAL will align with the Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP), and further work will be conducted on how to implement the Plan’s medium-term activities while maintaining improvement of EI of ICAO SARPs.


Aviation Security Assistance and Capacity-building


In order to implement the No Country Left Behind initiative, Regional Offices, in collaboration with Implementation Support and Development – Security (ISD-SEC), and other partners providing assistance, generate Aviation Security Improvement Plans (ASIPs), which are short- to mid-term, multi-phased plans for State capacity-building based upon a needs assessment and the commitment of the State to improve its AVSEC capabilities. In 2017, 16 States remained actively engaged in the implementation of an ASIP, with two needs assessments and 29 targeted deliveries of assistance being provided in these States throughout the year.




ICAO held its first annual Global Aviation Security Symposium (AVSEC2017) from 12 to 14 September at its Headquarters in Montréal, which was attended by 497 participants from 87 Members States and 42 international organizations and industry associations. The three-day symposium served as a platform to promote the work of ICAO, its Member States and stakeholders in the area of aviation security. This symposium strategically enhanced international cooperation and collaboration to address the threat posed by terrorists targeting civil aviation by reinforcing, strengthening and promoting the international framework of aviation security.  


AVSEC and FAL training


Over the course of 2017, the Aviation Security Training Centre (ASTC) network grew to 32 members, with the addition of ASTCs in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Tunis, Tunisia. In 2017, a total of 27 ICAO-sponsored training events were offered throughout the ASTC network benefiting 83 Member States.


Additionally, throughout 2017 ICAO partnered with international agencies and States to promote aviation security. ICAO partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport, and the United States’ Department of State to provide targeted assistance. Further, ICAO continued its partnership with Montréal’s Concordia University to offer the Aviation Security Professional Management Course (PMC) with three sessions in three regions in 2017. ICAO worked closely with Airports Council International (ACI) to develop a Management of Airport Security Course in 2017.


The ICAO Training Package (ITP) entitled “Control of the Authenticity and Validity of Travel Documents at Airport Borders – Level 1” was validated in English.


Cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was further strengthened in the area of border control and migration management with the delivery of the first joint training session on travel document inspection and biometrics.


ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Strategy


In the context of the No Country Left Behind initiative, an ICAO TRIP roadmap was developed aimed at providing target milestones for the implementation by Member States of the ICAO TRIP Strategy. This roadmap is expected to assist States with the task of uniquely identifying individuals and enhancing the security and integrity of their travel documents and border controls. Subsequently, State Letter EC 6/8 – 17/96 on the ICAO TRIP Implementation Roadmap for Member States was published on 11 August 2017, requiring States to coordinate through their national Facilitation focal point with all the entities involved in traveller identification matters to achieve the TRIP roadmap implementation tasks, to complete the Annex 9 Compliance Checklist in the Electronic Filing on Differences (EFOD), and to ensure that all interoperable applications are fully functional.


The first Regional Facilitation Implementation Seminar, which supports the No Country Left Behind initiative, was held in Paris from 20 to 24 November, for States in the European and North Atlantic (EUR/NAT) Region. The focus of this series of seminars is on the need to complete the online Compliance Checklist in the EFOD allowing for a record of information on compliance with Annex 9 Standards, and on the obligation of States to develop a National Air Transport Facilitation Programme (NATFP).


Three ICAO TRIP Regional Seminars were conducted in 2017. These regional events highlighted information-sharing technologies particularly relevant to the execution of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014) and 2309 (2016) on combating foreign terrorist fighters, with a special focus on effective border control management.


The 13th Symposium and Exhibition on the ICAO TRIP, with the key theme of “Making air travel more secure and efficient: Towards better traveller identification management for enhanced border control integrity” was held at ICAO Headquarters. Two important workshops on the Public Key Directory (PKD) and on new approaches to Advance Passenger Information (API) were convened during this symposium. The event gathered officials from 82 States and 14 international organizations, who also enjoyed a wide-ranging exhibition showcasing the latest industry technology and process innovations.


ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) workshops


As a measure for ongoing promotion, a PKD workshop was held during the 13th Symposium on the ICAO TRIP. The dedicated session on the PKD aimed to provide more information on effectively running and implementing a national PKD (NPKD) system and ePassport validation.


Five new participants, namely Barbados, Panama, Peru, Turkmenistan and the European Union joined the ICAO PKD during the course of the year, bringing to 60 the total number of participants.


ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN)


The tenth ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN2017) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 4 to 8 December 2017. The event was attended by delegates from 66 States/territories, and 456 formal and informal bilateral meetings were conducted, which led to the signing or initialling of over 420 agreements (including many Open Skies agreements) and arrangements (such as Memoranda of Understanding, Records of Meeting or Agreed Minutes). By the end of 2017, a total of 142 States (representing 74 per cent of ICAO Member States) had utilized this facility at least once.


Environmental Protection


Implementation, Strategy and Planning Group (ISPG)


The ICAO Council held its fourth off-site strategy meeting on 20 and 21 September 2017 (COSM 2017) in the city of Bromont, Quebec, under the theme “Enhancing Implementation of Global Plans”. Representatives of Member States on the Council together with Representatives to ICAO, the leadership team of the Air Navigation Commission and the senior management team of the Secretariat, including Regional Directors, participated in the meeting. Industry representatives, from Airports Council International (ACI), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), provided their views and experiences on the implementation of the Global Plans.


Presentations by the Maldives and Papua New Guinea provided the perspectives of States on the Plans. Participants identified actionable gaps in the implementation of the Global Plans, namely the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP), Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) and the draft Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP), and made recommendations particularly on the need to improve ICAO’s communication and engagement with States on the Plans. The Council, at the eighth Meeting of its 212th Session held on 14 November 2017, approved the eleven conclusions and five recommendations arising from COSM 2017 and tasked the Secretariat with creating actionable items from the said recommendations for inclusion in the next ICAO Business Plan and Operating Plan, in preparation for the 2020-2022 Regular Programme Budget.


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