How do we get our aviation messages out in the world?


We actually have many platforms, forums, events and tools that help us support 193 national governments as they cooperate to ensure safe, secure and sustainable air operations around the world. In this article we are shining a spotlight on ICAO’s flagship publication, the World Civil Aviation Report. How the publication came to be is a curious story, but what is most important is how it extends our reach to a global audience.

While we are out here convening panels, task forces, conferences, and seminars, we have a lot of information to share. We continuously look for ways we can more effectively communicate aviation news to a broader reading public. When we launched the first World of Civil Aviation Report in 2017, we made sure it was written in a less technical, more general language. We also made sure the news content was not restricted to ICAO policy and programmes. Although these topics will always be prominent, we invited outside contributors to include general aerospace updates.

In 2018, we looked at how we could improve this publication.

Market studies suggested our reading public included regulators, the aviation industry and specialized academics, but there are also commercial pilots and airport staff, lawyers and policy analysts, technology fans and public-sector researchers. The list went on. The past three editions based their circulation and editorial mission on that third edition.

In 2021, the dedicated ICAO team for the fifth edition of the report included a product manager, Hedvi-ly Kamara, two editors, David Winch and Susan Clements, and graphic designer, Patil Tchilinguirian. The team sent out an internal call for submissions in June 2021, addressed to technical officers throughout the Organization. Following this, a wide range of subject areas were selected. These topics include:

  • air traffic volumes during the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years;
  • environmental regulatory changes;
  • new training and technology fronts in world aviation;
  • overview of the development of eVTOL “air taxis”; and
  • the economic aspects of innovation in aviation

Reputational factors

The World Civil Aviation Report is an authoritative, but readable publication that presents not only the activities of the Organization, but those that mirror them as well. The publication has to be high quality with accurate content. With so many contributions, we need to ensure a process for integrating the various articles submitted by ICAO sections and bureaus is followed, based on the lessons learned from previous editions.

There are many internal and external stakeholders involved in the workflow. Quality checks have to be carried out and stakeholders need to sign off on their contributions. The project manager is responsible for the overall quality process. She is responsible for stewarding the product between the subject matter experts, editors, the graphic designer, and any other stakeholder involved.

Quality-management needs

The World Civil Aviation Report relies on several processes. The development process only begins after an internal call for submissions has been issued to all ICAO technical officers in the Bureaus. Officers and subject-matter experts volunteer to write the articles. In some cases, multiple authors can contribute to a single article. Content can change drastically from first drafts through multiple revisions with the primary editor.

The graphic design of charts, tables, images, and maps only begins once the subject matter expert and the section chief have signed off on a fully edited article.  Once the content is laid out and graphic assets (images, charts, and maps) have been incorporated, the primary editor will review the content.

An article will often be forwarded to a second editor for a full review. During this editing, the reviewer will make sure that there is consistency across the text and ensure it is written from the perspective of one voice, the ICAO voice.

Once reviewed, articles are sent to Bureau Directors for their sign-off. They are given a high-level checklist to aid in their review. After all contributions have been signed off by the Bureau Directors, the project manager and the designer prepare the publication files for printing.

Figure 1. The first figure shows the workflow steps for Phase 1 between the authors of the articles, the project manager and the graphic designer.

Editor’s role

As with any substantive book or the peer-reviewed texts submitted to academic journals, an editor is key to providing clean, final English-language texts for a broad readership. Fact-checking, organization of texts and coherence of the article is what the editor combs through texts to ensure.

Design and readability

The design language of the World Civil Aviation Report evolved through the four previous editions. In 2021, the goal was to develop the fifth edition with the strong aesthetic of a coffee-table book.

The goal of editorial design is to make publications visually engaging and easy-to-read. There is a broad scale of information to convey from the cover, typography, layouts and grids, graphics and illustrations and images. Composition elements of editorial layout such as balance, hierarchy, readability and legibility define the design and development of the reading experience. These give the graphic designer creative leeway for how to draw readers in, and on how written and visual information is understood. The editorial design process is closely intertwined with the editorial content of the book and the team worked remotely to coordinate with the moving pieces by meeting once a week and tracking the work in progress.

Figure 2. The prototyping process is illustrated as Phase 2

The fifth edition stands out for its special attention to the tactile experience of the book. Contrasting coated and uncoated paper qualities were used to differentiate between the content of the book and the advertisements. Special attention was directed to the printmaking process, which was executed in-house by ICAO’s printing unit in order to print an eco-friendly coffee book table.

Figure 3. The final phase includes finishing processes which illustrate how the core team of the publication remains involved until the launch of the publication.


Now that we’ve given you a behind-the-scenes look at how we put this publication together, we hope you will want to discover the real value of this publication: a deep dive into the latest aviation updates and data.  The fifth edition of the World Civil Aviation Report is now available for purchase – make sure to order your copy today!