The absolute must for air travel is aviation safety. Proof of the seriousness in addressing the issue of aviation safety is the fact that the US has been taking steps to bring standards to improve aviation safety from almost the very beginning of commercialization of air travel. Aviation being the kind of activity that it is; aviation safety has to be so comprehensive that it should take into consideration all the possible factors that could contribute to a lack of it. This makes aviation safety a field that is so vast that aviation safety has to list all the factors that can bring about accidents.
The International Civil Aviation Organization
In order to ensure aviation safety, the United Nations has formed an agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which sets out standards for aviation safety. The ICAO is the sole standards body for aviation safety in the world. It is tasked with standardizing some functions that are used in the airline industry, all of which contribute to the overall aspects of aviation safety.
The ICAO, based in Montreal, Canada has a Council which sets standards and recommends practices for all aspects of aviation safety. The scope of its activities includes:
The ICAO-framed standards for aviation safety
Some of the ICAO’s prescriptions for safety standards include:
- Every member country should put in place an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This is to be based on the standards the ICAO defines, and should contain all the necessary information needed for air navigation. Member countries have to update their respective AIP manuals every four weeks. Each member state should give all details relating to information, procedures and regulations that it follows in relation to airports and airspace.
- Another standard of the ICAO relates to International Standard Atmosphere. Also called ICAO Standard Atmosphere; this is a model that contains all of the variations that take place during a flight of factors in the Earth’s atmosphere. These include density, temperature, pressure, and viscosity with altitude. This kind of model helps aircrafts to calibrate their instruments and to design aircraft.
- Another of the standardizations of the ICAO relates to the worldwide use of passports that are machine-readable. Passports that are compliant with the standards set out by the ICAO have their own readable and recognizable characters. This helps those in law enforcement spend less time on processing passports.
- The ICAO has a major part to play in the regulation of crucial areas of aviation safety, such as infrastructure management. It regulates and standardizes many aspects of this area of aviation safety, such as Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) systems, which seek to harmonize aviation safety standards globally.