International Civil Aviation Organization | IAS Target IAS Target

International Civil Aviation Organization

The International Civil Aviation Organization (1944) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.

Chicago convention:

Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as the Chicago Convention), was signed on 7 December 1944 by 52 States. The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel. The Convention also exempts air fuels in transit from (double) taxation.

Formation 4 April 1947
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Membership 193 ICAO members (April 2019) including the Cook Islands
Parent organization United Nations Economic and Social Council
  • Safety report
  • World Civil Aviation Report (WCAR)

The ICAO Council adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation, its infrastructure, prevention of unlawful interference, flight inspection, and facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation. ICAO defines the protocols for air accident investigation that are followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The Air Navigation Commission (ANC) is the technical body within ICAO. The Commission is made up of 19 Commissioners, appointed by the ICAO's contracting states and appointed by the ICAO Council. International Standards and Recommended Practices are developed under the direction of the ANC through the formal process of ICAO Panels. Once approved by the Commission, standards are sent to the Council, the political body of ICAO, for consultation and coordination with the Member States before final adoption. ICAO is aloof from other international air transport organizations, particularly because it alone is vested with international authority (among signatory states).

Other organizations include

  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA),
  • The Airports Council International,
  • An organization for Air
  • Navigation service providers (ANSPs); and
  • A trade association representing airlines;
  • The Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO),
  • A trade association of airport authorities


The Council of ICAO is elected by the Assembly every three years and consists of 36 members elected in 3 groups.


As of April 2019, there are 193 ICAO members, consisting of 192 of the 193 UN members (all but Liechtenstein, which lacks an international airport), plus the Cook Islands. The Republic of China was a founding member of ICAO but was substituted by the People's Republic of China as the legal representative of China in 1971

ICAO and Climate Change

Emissions from international aviation are specifically excluded from the targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, the Protocol invites developed countries to pursue the limitation or reduction of emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organization. ICAO's environmental committee persists to consider the potential for using market-based measures such as trading, and charging, but this work is unlikely to lead to global action. It is currently developing guidance for states who want to include aviation in an emissions trading scheme (ETS) to meet their Kyoto commitments, and for airlines who want to participate voluntarily in a trading scheme.
Emissions from domestic aviation are included within the Kyoto targets agreed by countries. It has led to some national policies such as fuel and emission taxes for domestic air travel in the Netherlands and Norway, respectively. Although some countries tax the fuel used in domestic aviation, there is no duty on kerosene used for international flights.