The International Civil Aviation Organization

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  • Published : September 14, 2012
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THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (ICAO)

BACKGROUND: In 1910, a conference on international air law code, attended by representatives of 18 European nations, was convened in Paris, France. In 1919, following World War I, the Paris Peace Conference created the International Air Convention to govern aspects of civil aviation. The Convention, ratified by 38 nations, began the process of creating an International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN); ICAN established headquarters in Paris in December 1922, with Albert Roper as general secretary. Following World War II (in November 1944), 32 nations signed a Convention on International Civil Aviation establishing the permanent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to oversee international cooperation on regulations, standards, and procedures governing civil aviation. It took three years for the ratification process, but in 1947 ICAO took over the ICAN offices in Paris. MEMBERSHIP: As of 20 June 2002, ICAO had 188 member states. BUDGET: The 2001 assembly approved the following budgets: 2002, US $56,743,000; 2003, US $57,584,000; 2004, US $60,456,000. Contributions by member states are assessed on a sliding scale determined by the assembly. CREATION: The first international civil aviation conference, held in 1910 and attended by European governments only, since transoceanic flight was then regarded as no more than a wild dream, was a failure. Almost another decade elapsed before an international convention, signed in Paris in 1919, created the International Commission for Air Navigation. The commission was to meet at least once a year and concern itself with technical matters. An international committee of jurists was also established, to concern itself with the intricate legal questions created by cross-border aviation. In 1928, a Pan-American convention on commercial aviation was adopted at a conference held in Havana to deal with problems then emerging as international flights became more frequent in the Western Hemisphere. Although some progress in obtaining agreement on international flight regulations had been made by the end of the 1930s, most nations still granted very few concessions to each other's airlines, and no agreement existed permitting foreign planes to fly nonstop over the territory of one country en route to another country. The Chicago Conference of 1944

The tremendous development of aviation during World War II demonstrated the need for an international organization to assist and regulate international flight for peaceful purposes, covering all aspects of flying, including technical, economic, and legal problems. For these reasons, in early 1944, the US conducted exploratory discussions with its World War II allies, on the basis of which invitations were sent to 55 allied and neutral states to meet in Chicago in November 1944. In November and December 1944, delegates of 52 nations met at the International Civil Aviation Conference in Chicago to plan for international cooperation in the field of air navigation in the postwar era. It was this conference that framed the constitution of the International Civil Aviation Organization—the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also called the Chicago Convention. This convention stipulated that ICAO would come into being after the convention was ratified by 26 nations. To respond to the immediate needs of civil aviation, a provisional organization was created and functioned for 20 months until, on 4 April 1947, ICAO officially came into existence. In essence, the conference was faced with two questions: (1) whether universally recognized navigational signals and other navigational and technical standards could be agreed upon, and (2) whether international rules concerning the economics of air transport could be established. One group of countries, led by the US, wanted an international organization empowered only to make recommendations regarding standard technical procedures...
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