A standard, as defined by the first ICAO Assembly, is "any specification for physical characteristics, configuration, material, performance, personnel, or procedures, the uniform application of which is recognized as necessary for the safety or regularity of international air navigation and to which member states will conform ." Standards may thus include specifications for such matters as the length of runways, the materials to be used in aircraft construction, and the qualifications to be required of a pilot flying an international route. A recommendation is any such specification, the uniform application of which is recognized as " desirable in the interest of safety, regularity, or efficiency of international air navigation and to which member states will endeavor to conform."
Preparing and revising these standards and recommendations is largely the responsibility of ICAO's Air Navigation Commission, which plans, coordinates, and examines all of ICAO's activities in the field of air navigation. The commission consists of 15 persons, appointed by the council from among persons nominated by member states. If the council approves the text, it is submitted to the member states. While recommendations are not binding, standards automatically become binding on all member states, except for those who find it impracticable to comply and file a difference under Article 38 of the Chicago Convention.
Annexes to the Chicago Convention
The various standards and recommendations that have been adopted by ICAO are grouped into 18 annexes to the Chicago Convention. The aim of most of the annexes is to promote progress in flight safety, particularly by guaranteeing satisfactory minimum standards of training and safety procedures and by ensuring uniform international practices. The 18 annexes are the following:
- Personnel Licensing—licensing of flight crews, air traffic controllers, and aircraft maintenance personnel.
- Rules of the Air—rules relating to the conduct of visual and instrument flights.
- Meteorological Services—provision of meteorological services for international air navigation and reporting of meteorological observations from aircraft.
- Aeronautical Charts—specifications for aeronautical charts for use in international aviation.
- Units of Measurement—dimensional systems to be used in air-ground communications.
- Operation of Aircraft. Part I: International Commercial Air Transport; Part II: International General Aviation; Part III: International Operations–Helicopters. These specifications will ensure in similar operations throughout the world a level of safety above a prescribed minimum.
- Aircraft Nationality and Registration Marks—requirements for registration and identification of aircraft.
- Airworthiness of Aircraft—certification and inspection of aircraft according to uniform procedures.
- Facilitation—simplification of customs, immigration, and health inspection regulations at international airports.
- Aeronautical Telecommunications—standardization of communications equipment and systems and of communications procedures.
- Air Traffic Services—establishment and operation of air traffic control, flight information, and alerting services.
- Search and Rescue—organization and operation of facilities and services ne cessary for search and rescue.
- Aircraft Accident Investigation—uniformity in the notification, investigation, and reporting of aircraft accidents.
- Aerodromes—specifications for the design and equipment of aerodromes.
- Aeronautical Information Services—methods for the collection and dissemination of aeronautical information required for flight operations.
- Environmental Protection. Vol. I: Aircraft Noise—specifications for aircraft noise certification, noise monitoring, and noise exposure units for land-use planning; Vol. II: Aircraft Engine Emissions—standards relating to vented fuel and emissions certification requirements.
- Security—specifications for safeguarding international civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference.
- Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air—specifications for the labeling, packing, and shipping of dangerous cargo.