Annex 1 - Personnel Licensing


Developed by ICAO, the International Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) contained in the nineteen Technical Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also called Chicago Convention) are applied universally and produce a high degree of technical uniformity which has enabled international civil aviation to develop in a safe, orderly and efficient manner.


As long as air travel cannot do without pilots and other air and ground personnel, their competence, skills and training will remain the essential guarantee for efficient and safe operations. Adequate personnel training and licensing also instill confidence between States, leading to international recognition and acceptance of personnel qualifications and licences and greater trust in aviation on the part of the traveller. Standards and Recommended Practices contained in Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing) to the Chicago Convention relate to the licenses and ratings for pilots, for flight crew members other than pilots (e.g. flight navigator, flight engineer, etc.), and for personnel other than flight crew members (e.g. aircraft technician/engineer, air traffic controller, etc.). It also includes medical provisions for licensing. Licensing is as old as aviation itself. When aviation stretched its wings over borders and across oceans in its drive to connect all parts of the world, difficulties began and the need for international standards became obvious.


Signed in Paris on 13 October 1919, the Convention Relating to the Regulation of Aerial Navigation (i.e. the Paris Convention) came into force on 11 July 1922 and the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN), under the direction of the League of Nations, came into being to further develop the standards and rules for universal application by civil aviation. Among the eight technical annexes to the Paris Convention, Annex E (named Operating crew) already made provisions for international licensing standards, mainly for air crew and based on medical fitness as well as experience. The outbreak of World War II  put an end to the work of ICAN; however, the conference held in Chicago in November-December 1944 conceived the Convention of International Civil Aviation (i.e. the Chicago Convention), which led to the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on 7 April 1947. ICAO carried on the work of ICAN. The technical Division on Personnel Licensing (PEL), which was given the responsibility for establishing standards for the licensing of operational and mechanical personnel, held its first session from 15 to 23 January 1946. The second session of the PEL Division (held in Montreal from 7 to 25 January 1947) led to the adoption by the Council, on 14 April 1948, of the first set of licensing SARPS contained in Annex 1, which became effective on 15 September of the same year.


Related training manuals developed by ICAO provide guidance to States for the scope and depth of training curricula which will ensure that the confidence in safe air navigation, as intended by the Chicago Convention and Annex 1, is maintained. These training manuals also provide guidance for the training of other aviation personnel such as aerodrome emergency crews, flight operations officers, radio operators and individuals involved in other related disciplines.


The importance of Human Factors to flight safety was officially recognized by ICAO in 1986 when the 26th Assembly adopted Resolution A26-9. As follow-up to this Assembly Resolution, the Air Navigation Commission formulated the mission of the Flight Safety and Human Factors Programme, which addresses known human capabilities and limitations, providing States with basic information on this vital subject as well as the material necessary to design proper training programmes.


One of ICAO's main tasks in the field of personnel licensing is to foster the resolution of differences in licensing requirements and to ensure that international licensing standards are kept in line with current practices and probable future developments. This is ever more crucial as the flight crew will be exposed to increasing traffic density and airspace congestion, highly complicated terminal area patterns and more sophisticated equipment. To accomplish this task, Annex 1 and the related Manuals are regularly amended to reflect the rapidly changing environment.


United Nations New-York First Day of Issue. Airmail issue (two stamps) of 9 February 1959.

Overseas Mailers cachet: Pilot flying his plane. Bicolor-printed and hand-painted cahet.

The vertical rose-red airmail stamp depicts the globe-and-wing design by W.W. Wind of USA that won the first prize in the international competition for stamps designs held by the UN Postal Administration in 1952. The horizontal ultramarine airmail stamp, depicting a waving UN flag and a stylized airplane, was designed by Olav Mathiesen of Denmark.



United Nations – 12 June 1978

ICAO Safety in the Air

Artist’s drawing of proposed (and not selected) design by Olav Mathiesen, Denmark: Pilots in cockpit of airplane.

Olav Mathiesen designed the United Nations New York Souvenir Card #11 issued on 11

March 1977 (World Intellectual Property Organization and specialized Agencies commemorated by UN postage stamps).

Page 29 of the year set of the postage stamps issued by Canada in 1994.