Conferences on the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation Services


Approximately once every decade, State delegates and specialists representing airports, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and users of airport and air navigation services get together to discuss approaches to the infrastructure, economic and management issues that underpin global aviation operations. Since its first incarnation as the Airport Charges Conference in November 1956, deliberations at such Conferences have been instrumental in defining the broader scope and purpose of ICAOís policies on charges for airports and air navigation services. All such Conferences were held in Montreal and are listed hereafter with their attendance when available.







Contracting States



International Organizations

Air Charges Conference

6 to 19 November 1956





Route Facilities Charges Conference

18 March to 4 April 1958





Conference on Charges for Airports and Route Air Navigation Facilities

30 April to 18 April 1967





Conference on Airport and Route Facility Economics

19 May to 5 June 1981





Conference on Airport and Route Facility Management

29 October to 9 November 1991





Conference on the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation Services

19 to 28 June 2000





Conference on the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation Services

15 to 20 September 2008






The 1956 Air Charges Conference was designed to reach agreement on a uniform world-wide policy with respect to airport charges. The Conference found that, although there had been some improvement in the economic position of international airports as a whole in the prior five years, these airports were still operating with large annual deficits. It did not, however, draw any conclusions from this respect to the levels of airport charges, because of the incompleteness of the available figures and the great variation between different airports.


The second conference named Route Facilities Charges Conference met in 1958 to formulate principles on the way in which charges for route air navigation facilities (i.e. communications facilities, navigation aids, air traffic control services, meteorological services, emergency landing grounds, search and rescue services, and information and map services) should be imposed where they are found to be necessary.


The third Conference of this nature was held in 1967 and named Conference on Charges for Airports and Route Air Navigation Facilities. It was attended by 241 participants, over twice the attendance at the two previous Charges Conferences held in 1956 and 1958. The Conference adopted 17 recommendations dealing with principles applicable to charging and charging systems and with methods of charging. The general purport of its conclusions was that governments should exercise caution in increasing airport charges and imposing charges for route facilities so as not upset the economic position of international air transport, whose small margin of revenues over costs was threatened by a number of factors, including the world-wide tendency towards rising costs.


The Conference on Airport and Route Facility Economics (CARFE) was held in 1981 and developed 18 recommendations and considered the general economic situation of international airports and route facilities in relation to that of the air carriers, considered the financing of airport security and airport noise alleviation measures. The meeting was held against a background of rising costs of airport and air navigation facilities and high operating expenses for airlines. High on the agenda was the financing and cost recovery of airport security measures which States must provide under the newly adopted Annex 17 (titled: Security: Safeguarding International Civil Aviation against Acts of Unlawful Interference) to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. The financing of security measures which have substantial cost implications for airports and airlines, as well as other economic issues such as noise standards affecting air transport, were major subjects discussed by the 26th Session of ICAOís Assembly which met from 23 September to 10 October 1986.


The 1991 Conference on Airport and Route Facility Management reviewed the general economic situation of airports and route facilities in relation to that of the air carries and adopted 31 recommendations aimed at improving the financial situation of airports and route facilities and managing them in an equitable and economic manner so as to make them more self-sufficient and less dependent on public funds. The participants agreed on various measures to enhance the effectiveness and quality of service provided to the travelling public by airports and air traffic services across the world.


Pin given to the participants at the ANSConf2000.

The 2000 Conference on the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation Services (ANSConf2000) was convened to revise and update the Organizationís guidance material to its Contracting States on the management and charging of such facilities. Under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, States are responsible for the provision of airport and air navigation services. The conclusion of the Conference favoured a commercial approach to the management and operations of airports and air navigation services, coupled with specific financial and operational guidelines as well as safety and security oversight to help governments cope effectively with airport and airspace congestion resulting from the consistent growth of air traffic worldwide.



The 2008 Conference on the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation Services (CEANS) adopted 15 recommendations that would enhance cooperation in the air transport industry and increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of airport operations and the provision for air navigation services. While the outcome of the latest conference in this area (ANSConf2000), held in June 2000, led to an adjustment of ICAOís policies on charges to a commercialized and privatized environment, the main purpose with the CEANS Conference was to learn from the experiences of the commercialization and privatization process and further develop and refine the policies.

In conjunction with the CEANS, a pre-Conference Symposium was held on Sunday 14 September 2008; the theme was Challenges for Airports and Air Navigation Services and eminent leaders in the aviation industry were invited to lead stimulating discussions. The intent of the Symposium is to set the scene and to focus on some key issues to be addressed by CEANS, enabling delegates, in an informal setting, to obtain information and clarification regarding these issues.



Commemorative covers issued for the ANSConf2000 Conference held in June 2000.

The designs on the upper cover symbolize airports and air navigation services as integral and essential components of the air transport infrastructure. The postage stamp affixed was the first issued by Canada Post to celebrate the new millennium.

The lower cover was issued for the annual exhibition of the Lakeshore Stamp Club (Pointe Claire/Dorval, QC, Canada), held in April 2001. This Club was founded in 1961 and is affiliated to the American Topical Association.


Commemorative cover issued for the CEANS Conference held in September 2008.

The postage stamp used on the envelope was issued by Canada Post on 15 January 2008 and was the third in its Celebration series. It is a non-denominated 52-cent fireworks permanent stamp. The design includes the inscription Canada!. According to Canada Post, the designer Michael Zavacky of Ottawa-based McMillan Digital Art added an exclamation mark to the word Canada (a first for Canada Post), as a final tie into the concept of celebration and to underscore excitement.


Excerpt from The Journal of the UN Philatelists, Vol. 33 #2, April 2009.