What is the International Aviation Trust Framework?


The growth of digital aviation infrastructures and services have significantly helped to increase capacities and optimizing global airspace, but this growth has presented a number of challenges in terms of interoperability and cyber resilience. Aviation is a safety-critical business. With the continuous growth of air traffic and the emergence of “new entrants” with significantly different operational characteristics and needs, the air navigation system is becoming more complex.

To manage this complexity and improve the safety and efficiency of flight operations, the air navigation system must transform, as reflected in ICAO’s Global Air Navigation Plan, and build upon the use of emerging technologies, connectivity and digital information exchange to increase integration, automation and cost-effectiveness.

Cyber threats are a growing global concern. To protect the safety of flight operations from these threats and ensure business continuity, the more integrated and automated air navigation system should continue to provide for trusted information exchanges on a global basis. This means that in a digital environment, communication parties should be able to identify themselves mutually and the information exchanged should not be able to be modified by unauthorized parties.

To assist the Secretariat in the development of a globally harmonized international aviation trust framework for exchanging information in a digitally connected environment, ICAO established the Trust Framework Study Group (TFSG) in 2019 to develop the work through three working groups: operations, digital identity, and network. Since then, the working groups have progressed the development of policy and guidance material for a global and interoperable aviation trust framework that will enable trusted ground-ground, air-ground, and air-air exchange of information among all current and prospective aviation stakeholders. In particular, the groups are reviewing the concept of operations, defining use cases, developing a digital certificate policy, and identifying the security and access control requirements to a global resilient aviation interoperable network.

Recently the ICAO Council held a briefing that provided an overview of the threats associated with an emerging global cyber context, its implications for the international civil aviation sector, and the development of a credible framework to ensure that aviation-related data is stored, protected, and exchanged in as secure a manner as possible. We are sharing the recording of this briefing here.