ICAO’s new air transport accessibility application

Measuring people's access to the international air transport system


ICAO’s data analysis team launched a new web-based application (“app”) on the iSTARS 3.0 portal that enables authorized users of the Integrated Safety Trend Analysis and Reporting System to quickly determine the percentage of a State’s population living within 100 kilometres of an aerodrome.

The “Air Transport Accessibility” app shows that “74 percent of the world population has access to international air transport,” noted Mr Marco Merens, Chief, Integrated Aviation Analysis at ICAO. “For Europe, that rises to 90 percent, but for Africa it goes down to 64 percent.”


The app allows the user to select one of ICAO’s 192 Member States and compare that State’s aerodrome accessibility with various groups of States – the entire world, an ICAO Region, a PIRG (Planning and Implementation Regional Group), RAIO (Regional Accident and Incident Investigation Organization), RASG (Regional Aviation Safety Group), or RSOO (Regional Safety Oversight Organization), a continent, Least
Developed Countries (LDCs), Land Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) … even special-interest groupings such as States with Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) implementation plans or lithium-battery producing States.

After entering the two simple parameters, the app will generate a summary for the State, a comparison with the selected group (in text and graph form), a color-coded choropleth map of the group, and a bar chart which can optionally show the percentage of accessibility for every State in the group. “You can generate a report for any country and any region and get a PDF. Try it,” said Merens.

The methodology: “We took worldwide population data per square kilometres as published by the  SocioEconomic Data and Application Center (SEDAC) of NASA. That’s a huge database, coherent with UN census data. We then took our own airport data, and filtered from the SEDAC database those areas close to international aerodromes and secondary aerodromes feeding into international ones. Our cloud computer took two days to calculate the ratios for each State.”

The Air Transport Accessibility app is one of more than 25 apps on the iSTARS 3.0 secure portal. Other apps deliver information on air navigation implementation, airworthiness, accidents and incidents, route networks, dashboards such as the Conflict Zones Risk Information repository and Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA) results, a Map Builder for data such as USOAP Effective Implementation (EI) scores, State and Regional Safety briefings, and more.

“At ICAO, we’re doing a lot of predictive analysis, trying to find the future needs of aviation globally,” Mr Merens said. “We have users of information all around the world. It’s important the information is reliable, can get there fast, and is available at any time.”