Importance of Standards in Civil Aviation

When travelling across the country or across the globe, there is no safer method of transportation than flying. This is due to rigorous standards that have been developed and refined over the years, ensuring safety and quality of aircraft and their procedures. In this blog, we will discuss why it is important to have such civil aviation standards in place, as well as the entities that spearhead the safety of air travel.

Before discussing the importance of civil aviation standards, it is important to first understand what standards themselves are in relation to aviation in particular. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a standard is “any specification for physical characteristics, configuration, material, performance, personnel or procedure, the uniform application of which is recognized as necessary for the safety or regularity of international air navigation”. With aircraft taking off in flight across the globe every few seconds, standards and regulated procedures prevent chaos and dangers to promote the health of air travel.

Across civil aviation, safety comes in many forms. At airports, trained staff aid in the handling of procedures, ranging from passenger services to handling flights. Meanwhile, aircraft operations are conducted through pilots, air traffic control, and airport authorities all working together. Outside of airports that handle the flying of aircraft, manufacturers and maintenance workers are critical to the creation and upkeep of aircraft and their related systems and components. Aircraft components are manufactured following airworthiness standards as set out by authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the United States, while aircraft maintenance technicians work to inspect and maintain aircraft and parts so that they function optimally and safely.

There are multiple groups worldwide that aid in various facets of civil aviation standards and aviation safety in general. ICAO, as discussed beforehand, is the world’s leader in requirements for standardization, and ICAO standards are set to regulate aviation safety, efficiency, security, and environmental impact. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an entity that focuses on ensuring safety, security, sustainability, and efficiency for airliners through established standards. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) promotes civil aviation safety and standardization, conducting investigation and monitoring as well as creating regulations. Lastly, each country has its own civil aviation authority which may dictate standards, and examples include the FAA for the United States, the DGCA for India, and the CAA for the United Kingdom.

As the world leader in aviation safety, ICAO has developed globally accepted standards called “Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS). SARPs encompass the entirety of operational and technical facets of international civil aviation, including licensing of aircraft maintenance engineers, air traffic services, aircraft maintenance safety, accident and incident investigation, environmental protection, and more. As the ICAO serves as a specialized agency of the United Nations, it is represented by airport authorities and is a forum of cooperation for all fields of civil aviation. The ICAO is an assembly of representatives that meet every three years, and currently it holds 191 member states.

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