Tuesday, 6 December 2011


“Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” - Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

It’s International Civil Aviation Day today and it is a day set aside to underline the importance of civil aviation in modern-day society. It also highlights the role that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) plays in international air transport. This organisation is a United Nations (UN) body responsible for developing international standards for aviation safety. ICAO was established on December 7th, 1944, to secure international cooperation and uniformity in civil aviation matters. The International Services Transit Agreement and the International Air Transport Agreement were also signed at that time.

In 1996 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that 7th December was to be the International Civil Aviation Day.  The day had been celebrated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation since 7th December 1994, the 50th anniversary of the signing the Convention on International Civil Aviation Following the adoption of the UN resolution, the delegate from the United Kingdom stated the view that the decision for holding of an International Civil Aviation Day did not fall within these guidelines, and that the scarce resources of the United Nations should not be used to support interpretation, printing and other associated costs that will be incurred as a result.

Nevertheless, ICAO with support from governments, organisations, businesses and individuals, actively promotes International Civil Aviation Day through various activities and events. This day is celebrated globally, especially in countries such as South Africa, through various activities such as seminars, published material, educational lectures, classroom activities, and news announcements on international civil aviation topics related to the day.

As a person who does a lot of flying for work, I can appreciate the need for a safe, reliable, efficient and affordable civil aviation system. Civil aviation is exceedingly important for the social and economic development of countries around the world, especially these days of globalisation, international business opportunities and a highly mobile population both nationally and internationally. Civil air transportation is an important part of a country’s infrastructure and transportation system. The day is also intended to promote the safety of air transportation and in Australia, civil aviation is the most regulated industry (tertiary education is the second-most regulated, but that’s another story!)

Take today to appreciate the civil air system in your country and think of how important air travel is to you and your lifestyle. Even if you have never got on a plane yourself there is much around you that depends on civil aviation.


  1. I once did a lot of flying, both private and for work. Today I hate it and I never want to see another airport again.

  2. Yes, I imagine that our life would change dramatically if planes weren't around. It's good to reflect on that on this day.