International Civil Aviation Day is annually observed December 7 to raise awareness of the importance of international civil aviation and the role that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) plays in international air transport. The organization is a United Nations (UN) body responsible for developing international standards for aviation safety.
ICAO, with support from governments, organizations, 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.
International Civil Aviation Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.
ICAO was established on December 7, 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. In 1994 ICAO established International Civil Aviation Day by to mark the organization’s 50th anniversary.
This observance aims to generate and reinforce global awareness of the importance of international civil aviation in the social and economic development . The day also commemorates the ICAO’s role in promoting the safety, efficiency and regularity of international air transport.
In 1996 the UN General Assembly proclaimed December 7 as International Civil Aviation Day, in accordance with an ICAO initiative and with the Canadian Government’s assistance. The assembly urged governments and organizations to observe the day. This day is now an official UN day.
ICAO is a UN body that works closely with other United Nations members including the World Meteorological Organization, the International Telecommunication Union, the Universal Postal Union, the World Health Organization and the International Maritime Organization.
The ICAO logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It is similar to the UN logo in that the ICAO logo has a pair of aircraft wings superimposed on the UN logo. The UN logo features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of the olive tree. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map depicts the area of concern to the UN in achieving its main purpose, peace and security. The projection of the map extends to 60 degrees south latitude, and includes five concentric circles.
Over the years the ICAO logo has been published in different variations. In 1995 ICAO recognized the introduction of Arabic and Chinese as the organization’s working languages and this was reflected on the logo – both languages are found in the logo to describe ICAO.
Note: Although International Civil Aviation Day became an official UN day in 1996, many people celebrated the day since 1994.