Every flight starts and ends at an Aerodrome.
From their humble beginnings as relatively simple landing strips, international aerodromes have evolved into highly complex facilities. A modern international aerodrome’s environment is characterized by vast areas, distinct airside (movement area) and landside areas, sophisticated technologies, dozens of square kilometres of runways, taxiways, aprons, service areas, a multitude of equipment and integrated systems, and the growing activity of third parties. Added to all of this, today’s aerodromes are facing, more than ever, increasing commercial pressures with greater public awareness and expectations on safety and efficiency issues.
ICAO long-term traffic forecasts indicate that global passenger traffic will almost double by 2032, reaching more than 6 billion passengers annually – compared to 3.5 billion in 2016 – and there will be more than 60 million flights. As the number of aerodromes serving international operations is not expected to increase significantly (and certainly will not correlate with the forecast growth in passenger volume and aircraft movements), there is a need for ensuring the sustainable accommodation of this unprecedented growth, while maintaining safety and regularity of operations.
ICAO sets forth an array of provisions that encompass the whole lifecycle of the aerodrome certification process, from the establishment of a dedicated mechanism, to the planning of a certification project and its execution. These include, first and foremost, Annex 14, Volume I which sets the basic, high-level requirements in this area; the PANS-Aerodromes – Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Aerodromes (Doc 9981), which details a thorough global procedure for aerodrome certification; and the
During a thorough certification process, aerodrome regulators and operators verify that the aerodrome’s facilities, design, equipment and operational procedures comply with relevant SARPs, thereby ensuring safe operations and supporting optimization of aerodrome capacity and efficiency.
According to Annex 14, Volume I, States shall certify the international aerodromes in the areas under their jurisdiction, through an established mechanism. The
The process is followed by technical inspections and on-site verification by the authority of the aerodrome facilities and operational procedures, including its safety management system, in order to complete the analysis and ensure compliance with applicable provisions, as well as the appropriateness of operating procedures. The process ends with the granting of the aerodrome certification, which may include details on specific operations-related features or limitations arising from the certification process, information on major facilities, and the validity of the certificate.
Of particular importance is the conduct, as part of the certification process, of compatibility studies and safety assessments as outlined in the PANS-Aerodromes, in order to address operational issues in a sustainable way, to facilitate the accommodation of new larger or more demanding aircrafts by the aerodrome, and to develop operational procedures and operating restrictions, if needed.
ICAO provides ongoing support to Member States in the area of aerodrome certification. This assistance is aimed at capacity building and implementing aerodrome certification worldwide, and primarily includes assistance to States in transposing ICAO provisions into their national regulations, conducting gap analyses, and addressing operational issues revealed in the certification process.
This carried out through continuous dialogue with States, direct support by ICAO Regional Offices, the organization and delivery of regional workshops and seminars on aerodrome certification and operations, and also the implementation of aerodrome certification projects by ICAO’s Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB).
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