Standards for Civil Aviation

Are standards mandatory in Civil Aviation ? Yes !

Commercial aviation is the safest and fastest form of transportation in the world. This is made possible by the ICAO which develops best practices and regulations for international air transport.

Civil aviation is working as a catalyst for the world’s largest industry that is “Travel and Tourism”. Therefore standardization is very necessary for a healthy and growing air transport system. It creates and supports a large number of employments around the world.

Here, I’m going to share the real necessity of standards in civil aviation which encourage the safety and quality matters pertaining to aviation and also tell who is the leading organization in international civil aviation, how they work on to keep civil aviation standards up.

Now let’s dive in :

Before I talk about the necessity of standards in civil aviation, it is very important to understand about the word “Standard” before it’s a requirement, importance, and compliance in civil aviation.

How Standard is defined

The term “Standards and Recommended Practices” used in aviation. Specially ICAO uses this term to enhance civil aviation systems in terms of Quality and Safety.

As per ICAO, A “Standard” is defined as any specification for physical characteristics, material, configuration, performance, personnel or procedure, the uniform application of which is recognized as necessary for the safety or regularity of international air navigation.

Requirements of Standardization in Civil Aviation

Now Standard is up, then what next! Why it is most important and its really required in the aviation industry.

Above all, most importantly, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days of the year, an aeroplane takes off or lands every few seconds somewhere on the earth.

All flights are handled by trained airport staff in the same and uniform manner.

All aircraft operations control by air traffic control, airport authorities, and pilots. Behind the scenes, millions of employees worldwide involved in manufacturing of aircraft and parts, maintenance of aircraft to keep the airplane flying on time in safe and airworthy condition and monitoring of the products & ensuring of their quality, and services required to support aircraft operation in the never-ending cycle of flights.

Some factors like accident and incident reports that help Civil Aviation Authorities to set up new and/or amend regulations to maintain standards in civil aviation. The cause of an aircraft incident and accident must be identified in order to prevent repeated occurrence.

Organizations for standardization

Organizations that ensure and support the standardization system in Civil Aviation

  • World’s Leader – International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • World’s Trade Association – International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • American Trade Association – Airlines for America (A4A)
  • Safety Agency – European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
  • National Aviation Authorities – Like FAA US, CAA UK, and DGCA India

ICAO is the only world’s leader in international civil aviation which creates regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, and environmental protection. All other relevant authorities and organization works with ICAO.

IATA is a trade association for the world’s airlines which plays a major role to support aviation standards for the airline in terms of safety, security, efficiency, and sustainability. They represent, lead, and serve the airline industry.

A4A advocates on behalf of its members to shape important policies. They promote safety, security and a healthy American airline industry.

EASA is an agency of the European Union, responsible for civil aviation safety and standardization. It makes regulations and performs investigation and monitoring. EASA supports its Member States in implementing the ICAO standards.

NAA is an aviation regulator for any country that works to implement and maintain the standards set by the ICAO.

ICAO Standards

Formation of the ICAO

The 54 nations that attended the civil aviation conference in Chicago from November 1 to December 7 in 1944, also called the Chicago Convention. They set the formation of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).

ICAO is an organization represented by the airport authorities. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations. ICAO serves as a forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its Member States. Currently, there are 191 Member States.

ICAO is made up of an Assembly, according to the terms of the Convention and The Assembly, composed of representatives from all Contracting States. They meet every three years, reviewing in detail the work of the Organization and setting policy for the coming years. It also votes a triennial budget.

Objectives of ICAO

The objectives of the ICAO is very clear in order to keep the aviation standard up and maintain aviation safety. It sets the international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies to support efficient, safe, secure, and economically sustainable civil aviation sector worldwide.

Moreover, let’s see some points which helps you a better understanding of ICAO objectives, which includes:

  • To ensure safe and growth of international civil aviation throughout the world.
  • Encourage the arts of aircraft design and operations for peaceful purposes.
  • Encourage the development of airports, airways, and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation.
  • To meet the needs of air travelers for regular, safe, efficient, and economical air transport.
  • Avoid discrimination between contracting states.
  • Promote the safety of flight in international navigation.
  • Promote the development of international civil aeronautics in all aspects.

How does ICAO maintain standards of International Civil Aviation

Standardization in civil aviation is made possible by ICAO. ICAO developed a universally accepted standard known as Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

ICAO sets the standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. Its role is to conduct research and develop international air law.

SARPs cover all technical and operational aspects of international civil aviation, such as safety, personnel licensing, operation of aircraft, aerodromes, air traffic services, accident & incident investigation, and environmental protection.

Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) are contained in 19 Annexes for each area of ICAO responsibility. Each Annex deals with a particular subject area.

Without Standards and Recommended Practices in civil aviation, our air transport system will be at best chaotic and at worst unsafe.

How ICAO measures the Standards

ICAO measures the safety and security level of its member states by auditing state-level regulatory authority that is responsible for legislation, resources, and implementing ICAO norms. These audits are not for any airlines, airports, and other aviation industry operators.

For safety oversight, it is carried out under the ICAO program called Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). For security oversight, it is carried out under the Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP).

The results of USOAP are publicly published on ICAO’s website for review purposes. However, USAP results are confidential and are not made public. These results are only shared with the other member states through suitably confidential means.


Aviation accidents cause a very serious impact on any organization, airport, and country economy. Aircraft operation areas like airports are high alert areas. Any small negligence due to poor regulatory system can lead to major accidents.

Standards in Civil Aviation is very necessary in order to make safe air transportation. Standardization brings quality and healthy environments to achieve the highest level of safety.

Standards can be achieved by following proper regulatory procedures. The civil aviation authorities of state always do audits of concern organizations to keep these standards up. ICAO is the overall leader of all state government aviation authorities.

Hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know if there are some other factors that are necessary to maintain the standards in civil aviation.

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