• What is the ICAO and what are its functions

    Let’s talk about aeronautical law

In the beginning of aviation, the pleasure of flying was available to very few. The autonomy of aircraft was also very limited, so it was rare to fly to other countries or regions.

But when aircraft become more sophisticated and as they improved, it was necessary to create laws and agreements to regulate behaviour in the air.

Chicago’s convention: The origin of the ICAO

1st November 1944 saw the beginning of the convention of Chicago. 52 countries around the world attended.

This event is considered to be the most important convention relating to Aeronautical Law as it served to establish the guidelines for continuing growth of aviation after Second World War.

It was also agreed to create the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO or OACI, for its Spanish abbreviation.

When was ICAO created?

7th December 1944, during the Chicago Convention, the agreement on International Civil Aviation was signed. It served as a starting point for the creation of the ICAO.

But it wasn’t until almost three years afterwards that the International Civil Aviation Organisation was established, 4th April 1947.

Belonging to UN´s organisation, it originally had 55 countries united, whereas nowadays, it is more than 190 nations that make up the organisation.

Administrative structure of ICAO

ICAO is comprised of a sovereign body, the Assembly, and of a governing body, the Council.

The Assembly has to meet at least every three years. This meeting is called by the Council. Each contracting state has the right to vote and decisions are taken by majority.

The Council is a permanent body, it is accountable for the Assembly and is formed by 36 member countries for the duration of three years.

The ICAO has regional offices whose objective is facilitating the planning and implementation of new projects. These offices are as follows: Africa-Indic Ocean (AFI), Asia (ASIA), Caribbean (CAR), Europe (EUR), Middle East (MID), North America (NAM), North Atlantic (NAT), Pacific (PAC) and South America (SAM).

The role of Spain in ICAO

Did you know Spain has been, uninterruptedly, part of the Council since 1951?

On the 41st Assembly which will take place in September, our country aspires to be elected again for a new three-year mandate. It is, concretely, within the group of countries who have mostly contributed to providing services and facilities for the navigation of international civil aviation. You can check out Spain’s candidacy for ICAO through the link.

The importance of Spain in ICAO is due to having been massive defenders of safety development and efficiency in aviation since the beginning of the organisation.

Spain also meets the role of world leader in tourism, occupying the second place in the rank of countries which receive the most tourists each year.

Functions of ICAO

The main purpose of ICAO is the administration of the main principles established in the agreement.

For example, the nine Freedoms of the Air ensure that the airlines of a given country are entitled to fly across the territory of another country and land in it. Following is a listing of these:

  • First Freedom of the Air: The right to fly over the territory of another state without landing.
  • Second Freedom: The right to land in the territory of another state for technical purposes.
  • Third Freedom: The right to disembark passengers, mail and cargo loaded in the territory of a state from which the aircraft originates.
  • Fourth Freedom: The right to take passengers, mail and cargo to the destination of origin of the aircraft.
  • Fifth Freedom: The right to take and disembark passengers, mail and cargo with destination or origin from third states.
  • Sixth Freedom: The right of the carrier of a state to transport commercial traffic between another two states via its own territory.
  • Seventh Freedom: The right for a carrier of a state to transport commercial traffic completely outside its territory.
  • Eighth Freedom: The right for a carrier to transport commercial traffic within the territory of another state (cabotage).
  • Ninth Freedom: The right or privilege of transporting cabotage traffic of the granting State on a service performed entirely within the territory of the granting State.