Progress on ICAO's Strategic Objectives — Safety — Safety Priorities

Safety Priorities

GASP (including RASPs and NASPs)

In 2020, ICAO launched new guidance material, tools and a series of activities to support States and Industry to achieve the goals presented in the 2020-2022 edition of the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP). Implementation support aimed at increasing the number of States that have a national aviation safety plan (NASP) in place, in line with the GASP.

ICAO published the Manual on the Development of Regional and National Aviation Safety Plans (Doc 10131), and the Regional and National Aviation Safety Plan Checklists (Cir 358) which were developed in collaboration with the GASP Study Group (GASP-SG) and complement the latest GASP.

Implementation was supported by workshops and webinars, which were attended by hundreds of participants.

Electronic tools, launched in 2020, include: the Secure Portal on Emerging Issues and Additional Categories of Operational Safety Risks, and the NASP Online Community.

Safety Management

On 12 May 2020, ICAO published the first edition of the ICAO Handbook for CAAs on the Management of Aviation Safety Risks related to COVID-19 (Doc 10144), which is complemented by a new page on the Safety Management Implementation (SMI) website ( To introduce the guidance to States and CAAs, ICAO also hosted a webinar.

An iPack on aviation safety risk management was developed to support, facilitate and guide Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) in applying safety management principles to improve decision-making to address COVID-19 challenges and support safe aircraft operations.

Core Safety Activities (PEL/OPS/AIR/ANS/AGA/AIG/SM)

- Runway Safety

The runway safety programme was revitalized during 2020, with regular regional coordination meetings established, a global runway safety webinar hosted and a series of follow-up regional webinars launched.

With respect to the Global Reporting Format (GRF), ICAO’s decision to postpone the applicability date by one year provided the necessary relief to States and industry. Towards the end of 2020, several virtual awareness webinars were hosted.

- Accident and Incident Investigation (AIG)

The AIG work programme, under the auspices of the Accident Investigation Panel (AIGP) and the Flight Recorder Specific Working Group (FLIRECSWG), was progressed through teleconferences. A webinar was also conducted addressing the responsibility of accident investigation authorities (AIA) prescribed in Annex 13 — Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation and exploring how this function could be fulfilled during the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In regard to the accident involving Ukraine International Airlines flight PS 752 on 8 January 2020 in Iran, the Chief of the Accident Investigation Section (AIG) acted as the operational/technical lead of the ICAO Team of Advisers during the investigation.

Cargo safety

Provisions for operators to conduct safety risk assessments on the carriage of items in cargo compartments were adopted by Council and became applicable in November 2020. Supporting guidance was published (unedited) in Guidance for Safe Operations Involving Aeroplane Cargo Compartments (Doc 10102).

In regard to the development of an improved multi-modal hazard communication system for lithium batteries by the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, ICAO continued to monitor the development of an improved system so that the varying hazards posed by different battery types can be communicated and the risks to air transport appropriately mitigated.

Global Aircraft Tracking

In 2020, ICAO completed the operator-related provisions supporting the implementation of the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) Concept of Operations.

The operator-related provisions supporting the implementation of the GADSS address requirements for operators to develop procedures to: track their aircraft; monitor the aircraft tracking systems in use for their aircraft; respond to any information received from such tracking systems in an appropriate manner; and require that information received from an autonomous distress tracking system to be automatically forwarded to the Location of an Aircraft in Distress Repository (LADR).

The LADR will standardize the manner in which the location information of an aircraft in a distress condition is made available to all appropriate organizations (e.g. air traffic services units, rescue coordination centres, others as determined by the State of the Operator).

A LADR prototype was successfully demonstrated to the search and rescue (SAR) community and other stakeholders in a workshop conducted virtually in August of 2020.

Additionally, tracking related provisions for operators recommend that they supply their contact details to the ICAO established contact database (OPS CTRL) to facilitate contact between operator and ANSP in the event of a tracking related issue.

This database was established following the report of the Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative, and States were requested, via State letters AN 11/1.1.29 – 18/79 and AN 11/1.1.29 – 18/89 to provide operational contact details for inclusion in the database. By January 2021, a total of 79 ANSPs and 293 operators had requested access.

Mental Health & CAPSCA

The Mental Health Working Group of the Medical Provisions Study Group (MPSG) shifted the focus from other mental health topics to the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. The group consulted actively with mental health professionals, aviation stakeholders and peer support groups to develop core principles applicable to different stakeholders and guidance material to promote, maintain and support mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional guidance material is currently under development regarding psychological and psychiatric assessment of pilots relating to fitness-to-fly after severe COVID-19 infection.

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